Friday, July 28, 2006

Depression On The Rise

The alternative number for those in crisis is 1-800-273-TALK. This number will put callers in touch with the federally funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service that has been in operation since January, 2005
Experts: Gulf Coast Residents Battle Storm-Related Depression
POSTED: 10:22 am CDT July 25, 2006
UPDATED: 10:26 am CDT July 25, 2006

GAUTIER, Miss. -- Some Gulf Coast counselors said they're receiving a lot of calls from people dealing with depression associated with Hurricane Katrina.

Linda Jones of Pine Grove Counseling Center in Gautier said people are feeling stress while living in FEMA trailers or rebuilding their homes. She said those effects are spilling over to local teenagers, who respond by using drugs or alcohol.

Hurricane Katrina prompted the Mississippi Department of Mental Health to begin the program Project Recovery. There are 371 crisis counselors with the program who give Mississippians everything from telephone counseling to actual visits to the person's home.

Organizers said each month the number of suicide calls to the hot line increases.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sheds of Hope

Lagniappe Presbyterian Church, 647 Demontluzin St., Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
To Volunteer:

Conrad Velasco and Jake Earle originated the idea to begin shed projects in the Bay-Waveland area for families in need. We have hundreds of families who have requested sheds to store the few belongings they have left. There is very little storage in an average FEMA trailer. We have contracted to buy 8x8 shed kits that can be taken to homesites and constructed by minimally skilled teams at the homes of individual families.
(FYI - Conrad ended up bankrupt through his mission.)
Right now, Dr. Tom Armour has taken over the mission, has written new instructions to build the sheds, and remains an integral part of the work! is his blog on the work and how it is going

“Sheds of Hope” is part of the ministry of LPC which allows low to unskilled teams to connect with families in the Bay-Waveland area. The need arises out of the limited storage space in the FEMA campers/trailers. Many families use the sheds as laundry rooms and storage for full-sized refrigerators. Presently 8x8 sheds retail for $1,200-$1,400 dollars. These sheds are provided to the families at no cost to them.

Our strategy is to assemble these pre-cut, pre-packaged sheds on the homesites of residents allowing teams of up to 10 to participate in the construction of the shed on the property as well as allowing team members the opportunity to share many hours with the homeowners. That time is the primary focus of the projects. It allows team members to assess spiritual and physical needs as well as the opportunity to ‘hear the story’ of the family. Each shed is pre-cut and ready for assembly. We add to the kit plywood for the flooring and 3 bundles of shingles along with some drip edge, nails, etc. (the list is below).

The cost of each shed kit has been negotiated with large home supply store at $450 per shed (they retail for $895). With the additional materials each shed prices out at roughly $550. It would be extremely helpful if teams could bring the tools listed below for construction as well as a vehicle with a trailer capable of carrying 1,000 lbs. for delivery of the shed kits.

Construction time for shed assembly is approximately 1 day. Each team MUST have a builder or handyman who is familiar with basic construction and is capable of assembly from detailed plans. (Plans can be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page)
NEW shed instructions- UPDATED 6.26.06 ANYONE building sheds needs this document PRIOR to your arrival.pdf (File Size - 7,587K)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

50 in 50 in 50

Sam is trying something amazing. 50 full marathons in 50 days in 50 different locations.

All in the name of rebuilding and raising awareness. He started running to raise awareness that everything is NOT fine in the Gulf on July 1 in CO. The full Schedule:
He has since run in WY, UT, MT, OR, NV, CA, AK, WA, AZ and today is HI. He's running preset courses where marathons are normally run, even if it isn't on the exact day of the scheduled race.

I will post a single update from his blog each week as he works his way through this schedule. Amazing man!

If you want to help him by running along side him, please do! He could use the company and would love to spread the word. You can also keep track of him with his blog

He's ending his race of races in Bay St Louis in August. While the course hasn't been determined yet (not all of the original roads are still intact), it will be announced in the near future.

Supporting him and the awareness is simple. Make a bracelet of your own design out of 3 shoelaces - red, white and blue.
Supporting the cause: Donations may be made to
First Presbyterian Church
Bay Saint Louis Hurricane Relief Operation
114 Ulman Avenue
Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520(601)415-4577

Or donate securely through his website:

He has Hope Haven Children Shelter shown on the same page as for donations so I'm not sure if the donations are going there, a portion are, or he also wants to raise awareness of their plight. You can read about them on the blog at
And at the website

8/21 -

Back to Bay Saint Louis, MS!
We woke extra early today, and as I sat sipping coffee in the dark, it was really hard to fathom that today would be the last marathon of this trek. We got it all together though and made our way to the start which was at the MS welcome center (what an appropriate starting line!) just south of I-10. We arrived to see an amazing crew of people out there to cheer me on, see me off, and even run with me! Friends from Vicksburg, from my home church there, from Jackson, from Rhodes, from Bay St. Louis, and a few extras from here and there too. It was humbling to see such a crowd out there at 6am just to see me off. We had a great police escort the entire way- one car in front, one behind, plus a whole slough of support vehicles trailing along. The big BSL church truck was decked out with posterboard signs and streamers, and it was so great seeing such supportive people all along the way. At about the halfway point, we turned onto the Beach Blvd. and cruised on that for most of the second half. Just after the turn, I noticed two very familiar looking ladies on the right, and realized quickly that it was my Grandma and my Aunt Helen! They had surprised me with a trip all the way from their homes on the West Coast- WOW! I could hardly believe it! We just kept trucking along, not going for any speed records today, but just having a good time. We went through downtown Bay Saint Louis around mile 21, and there was an awesome crowd on both sides of the street cheering me on, which made it hard to leave them and crank out the last few miles, but wow what a feeling to see all these wonderful folks out. The last loop of miles went by quickly, and just as we turned onto Main St for the last stretch, Kirsten and I pulled away from the pack a little bit and went the last leg together. As we got closer I saw a huge mass of something at the end of the road by the beach, and as we got closer I finally realized it was a massive crowd of people at the finish line. The end was a blur, but I remember seeing wonderful signs like, "Welcome home Sam" and "BSL loves Sam" and things like that amidst near deafening cheers from all around. I crossed the finish line of this marathon of marathons, and was surrounded by friends and family from all over the place- it couldn't have been better. The mayor, Eddie Favre made a really nice presentation from the city, and I did my best to talk to as many people as I possibly could, but I know I wasn't able to talk with everyone unfortunately. It was all really very difficult to process- the idea of this being truly the last marathon of this adventure, but I couldn't have asked for better people around me at the end. We all went back to the church afterwards where we had a wonderful lunch and relaxed a bit. We eventually made our way back to New Orleans in the afternoon where we continued to relax and later had another wonderful celebratory meal. It was truly a perfect last day to this event. On Sunday Kirsten and I flew up o New York (starting to get deja vu coming to New York again), and will be on the Early Show on CBS tomorrow morning. Thank you all so very much for your wonderful support, prayers, and encouragement over the past 2 months- I could not have done it without you all! Please continue to keep the people of the Gulf Coast in your hearts and minds even now that this marathon journey has ended, and I hope this finds you and all your families well. Also, I will update the blog in the coming weeks as any other things happen, more upcoming media, etc. THANK YOU!!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Emotional Support For Parent and Child

The alternative number for those in crisis is 1-800-273-TALK. This number will put callers in touch with the federally funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service that has been in operation since January, 2005

7/22 There was an article that I now can't find stating there was a very good turnout for these workshops. That is great considering how much stress people are under right now and how little they have around them to assist in coping. As soon as I find the article again, I'll post the link.

Main Street United Methodist Church, 162 Main Street, BSL, will be hosting two workshops led by a team of experts from the National Trauma Center at Harvard University.

The first will be “Parenting in Times of Trouble” and “Recognizing Trauma in Children,” presented by Dr. Jean Bellows, a child and adolescent trauma psychologist, on Sunday, July 9.

The second workshop, on Tuesday, July 11, will be “Psychological Response to Disaster,” presented by Dr. Kevin Becker, psychologist and director of the Institute for Trauma and Crisis at Harvard Medical School.

There is no cost for the workshops, and both begin at 7:00 p.m. The public is cordially invited to attend.

Governor's Commission Housing Center

The Governor’s Commission Housing Committee is proud to announce the opening of a one-stop center for housing needs and information.

The Center will serve all of Hancock County. It is located at 601 Bienville, just off Old Spanish Trail on the Bay St. Louis Housing Authority property.To volunteer call Frances Graves at 228 216 9701.

Look for more news, a ribbon cutting and a Housing Bliz later in July. For now, however, THE COMMITTEE IS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS to serve three-hour shifts to open the center beginning on July 5th. We believe that paid staff will be available later. But for now, we can all help homeowners with needs for information on plans, permitting, funding, and other information by spending a little time in the center.

Don’t worry. There will be training and information available for volunteers so that you don’t have to be an expert in order to help.

To volunteer call Frances Graves at 228 216 9701.

7/30 - From WLOX

With more than 70,000 South Mississippi homes pummeled by Katrina, many people still have questions about rebuilding and housing alternatives. Now, Hancock County residents have a new place to turn for information.
On Tuesday, local, state, and federal officials were in Bay St. Louis for the official grand opening of a new housing resource center.
"We've brought all of the organizations and agencies across the state, nationally, to one place so that they can look for alternatives in rebuilding their communities and their lives," said Demetria Crumbly, Executive Director of the Bay St. Louis Housing Authority.
LISC, a national non-profit agency, provided funding for the new resource center. At Tuesday's ribbon cutting, they presented a $200,000 check to the Biloxi Housing Authority.
"The LISC money will be used actually to get the projects started for the redevelopment of the housing authority after the devastation by the storm," said Daniel Strange of Center Point Investment Company.
The new resource center will be run by about a dozen volunteers. They will provide free information about housing, such as required elevation levels and avenues for rental assistance
AmSouth Bank provided a $1,000 donation to the new resource center, which is a team venture by the Bay St. Louis Housing Authority and HUD. The One Stop Shop is located at 601 Bienville Street in Bay St. Louis.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Replacing Vital Documents

This site has for citizens, businesses, not-for-profits and Federal employees

It have links and directions to replace your:

Bank Records
Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates
Damaged Money
Driver's License and Vehicle Registry
Civilian Personnel Records
Immigration Documents
Has a medical information form
Medicare Card Replacement
Military Service Records
Savings Bonds
SS Card
Tax Returns

There is a phone directory if you'd rather do this by phone and a FAQ sheet.

Please Check it out

Barron School Assisting Kiln

Barron students send aid to Kiln, MississippiStudents, teachers, education support professionals, parents and citizens from Barron (Northwest United Educators) filled a semi-truck with school supplies and other materials in September to help residents of hurricane-devastated Kiln, Mississippi, home of Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre.

Several teachers and students followed the truck to Kiln and helped distribute materials. In a written account of their trip, they said the damage was overwhelming: schools were flooded; 30% to 40% of teachers were left homeless; most homes were left unlivable by a combination of water and wind damage. Most schools in Kiln did not open for classes until mid-October.

Barron High School guidance counselor Rod Wiemeri, Barron High School math teacher Brenda Haag, Riverview Middle School language arts teacher Kathy Waldvogel, high school students Jenny Myers and Nate Kringle, and middle school student Maggie Mickelson wrote an account of their trip to Kiln.

They said they adopted Kiln and Hancock County schools because the area is similar in size to Barron and they wanted to work with the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation, which has helped students in both states.

They said Faith Assembly of God Church received their donations and recruited volunteers to help unload and distribute materials.

One woman – now homeless and jobless – “was so choked up with emotion she could hardly talk but she thanked us for the food and other items we brought,” they wrote. “She was amazed that a community in northern Wisconsin would care enough to bring items all the way to Mississippi.”

They said they collected contact information and will organize more shipments of supplies to Kiln.

Operation Blessing Assistance

Grants through Operation Blessing

Abundant Life Church – Gautier, MS
Bayou Talla Fellowship – Kiln, MS
Christian Life Church – Waveland, MS
D’Iberville Christian Assembly – D’Iberville, MS
First Baptist Church of Bay St. Louis – Bay St. Louis, MS
First United Methodist Church – Pass Christian, MS
Forest Heights Missionary Baptist Church – Gulfport, MS
Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church – Pass Christian, MS
Gulf Coast Worship Center – Gulfport, MS
Lighthouse Church of God - Biloxi, MS
Northview Assembly of God – Meridian, MS
Pass Road Baptist Church – Gulfport , MS
Resurrection Life Church – Picayune, MS
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church – Moss Point, MS
St. James Baptist Church – Gulfport, MS
St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Catholic Charities) – Biloxi, MS
St. Rock United Methodist Church - Gulfport, MS
St. Rosa Delima Catholic Church – Bay St. Louis, MS
Tabernacle of Faith – Gulfport, MS
Three Rivers Assembly of God – Moss Point, MS
Word of Faith Church – Waveland, MS