Local church chips in to help hurricane victims

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2005

LINDEN-Another local church did their part to help gather relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina as Shady Union Missionary Baptist Church donated $1,000 to the American Red Cross in Linden Wednesday.

Bettina Bennett, who is a member of the church and a volunteer with the Red Cross, said they felt they needed to do their part to help people through their difficult time.

“We knew after going through Hurricane Ivan last year how bad things could be,” Bennett said. “We started right away preparing to help the people in our area and wanted to do something to help others.”

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Bennett said they received a very positive reaction from their members and the community, which allowed them to present a hefty amount of money to the cause.

“A lot of people chipped in to help with this,” Bennett said. “I can’t thank them enough. The members took up donations and a lot of people who were not members of the church also helped out. We really appreciate everything they have done.”

Bennett said the day after the storm hit the church opened to provide meals for local citizen’s that were without power. She said the Bethel Baptist Association also donated $200 to the cause.

That same day, Bennett said they placed calls to he missionary sisters to organize a relief shelter and start getting items for people who had fled their homes from Gulfport, Mobile, Biloxi and New Orleans.

Pastor Alfred V. Pritchett immediately opened the doors of the church and has been gathering donations. They have also been working with local families to provide other shelters. Cess Hall, of Octagon and Cherry Cobb has provided homes for some victims to stay in, but many more are needed.

Bennett said they would work closely with the Red Cross to continue to help.

“We just want people to call the Red Cross is they would like to help,” Bennett said. “We are all trying to chip in and do our part.”

The Red Cross is attempting to gather some items that stray from some items people have been donating. Electric wheelchairs, scooters and transportation are needed for special needs evacuees. Homes with wheelchair ramps are also needed.

Many of the evacuees who do not know if they will return to their hometowns are also seeking work. Many are skilled workers who have simply been displaced by the storm.

Those who have information about employment, or would like to help may do so by calling the Red Cross in Linden at 295-0805.