Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New FEMA Grants in HC

BILOXI, Miss. -- State officials said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved four Hurricane Katrina-related projects in Mississippi totaling more than $29 million.
The largest public assistance grant, totaling $18 million, goes to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to pay for some of the help Mississippi received from Florida in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.
The $18 million grant, along with $15 million previously awarded, represents funding for the labor, equipment and material expenses for 18 mission assignments handled by Florida.
FEMA said it had provided 100 percent funding for a total of $48 million to MEMA to reimburse states that came to Mississippi's aid.
The agency also approved $5.9 million to the city of Waveland to make permanent repairs to roads damaged as sewer lines are replaced south of the railroad tracks.
Other grants went to Jackson County for a new pre-cast concrete fishing pier to replace the Ocean Springs pier that was destroyed, and for repairs to Saint Stanislaus College Preparatory School's Student Union Building in Bay St. Louis.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Jerry Mallon Problems

Donations sent in good faith from Free Haul NPC, CAT Database, and CAP (City Action Partnership) are being detained by one Jerry Mallon d/b/a Anchor Homes in Bay St. Louis at 609 Central Street. Friday, in order for us to start the process, Mr Mallon demanded a $30,000 tax deductible donation receipt for full service warehousing and distribution. Distribution meaning loading the lumber onto trucks with his forklift. Free Haul gave him that receipt and after 6 hours of verbal abuse and $65/hr for the truck, we were able to get 1 partial load out. Today, Mr. Mallon has refused to let the trucks into the warehouse or to let his forklift come out. Volunteers are now having to load trucks with 40' I-beams BY HAND while taking serious verbal abuse from this man.

No matter what you have heard, this battle (and it is a battle) is being fought between Free Haul and CAP and Jerry Mallon. The donations were revoked from Waveland Citizens Fund solely to get control of the situation with Mr. Mallon. We have no problem with Waveland Citizen's Fund or anyone else who has been previously involved with the donation.

There are people here who say, it's not worth it (we are talking now about 4-5 loads of donated lumber), cut your losses and go home. But it's not just about this load of lumber, it's about being able to get more (much more) and about principle and doing what's right. After all, that's what it's always been about hasn't it? Christina with Free Haul and a lot of other people have made BIG sacrifices in their lives both financially and emotionally to do the right thing in MS. I know you all know what I'm talking about.

These steel magnolias are being beaten down here in Mississippi, both emotionally and financially and the powers that be and many "friends" from the relief effort are not standing with them. I can't tell you whether or not Free Haul will ever come back into MS, but I do know how hurt they are that the "the powers that be" have not taken care of this problem or sent police cars to just drive down the street to show support even if they couldn't interfere with this "civil action" , but I for one am going to stand with them tomorrow, for the third day of this roller coaster to try to get the lumber released. City Team Ministries stood with us today and we were able to get 1 load of lumber and 2 loads of mattresses out. God's Katrina Kitchen and C.C. White are standing with us tomorrow.

We need your support, stand with us. Come with signs that say your organization (even if you are a loan volunteer) supports Free Haul NPC. If this is their last load, let them know you appreciate what they've done in MS.
Thanks for all you do.

City Action Partnership

1/31 From Terra of CAT
It is my understanding that the materials are going to be moved to theHancock County EOC warehouse on Stennis/Airport Rd and that an "open process" is going to be put in place for people to get on the list to getthe stuff. Another couple days and things will be ironed out, as far as the materials that are currently in the Gulf. As for future shipments, that remains to be seen.
I, personally, suggest that groups that are interested in receiving the donated I beams contact FreeHaul directly to arrange for shipment. BUT if you do not have the funds to arrange for shipment of a whole load and need to get the I beams from a site that's already in the Gulf, have faith...there WILL be a process for getting them. The mission is to let the people of the Gulf have access to the I beams and other stuff. It's not clear yet how much demand there is for the I beams,but that will all come clear in the next few days...

1/30 Just got a call from Dayle with CAT - if you are willing to have your name or your agency's name used during the protest as a show of support to get the supplies released, please email Laura stating just that, along with your contact information for her records. Capbham@aol.com

1/30 Article Regarding this issue:

Donation Dispute
Jan 26, 2007, 17:20
controversy over donated materials which have been sitting idle in a Bay St. Louis warehouse came to a head Friday afternoon when the first of four truckloads of lumber made its way out of the Anchor Homes warehouse---headed for a new location. The release of the materials was anything but a smooth operation, however, as the warehouse owner demanded paperwork, volunteers complained of a hostile environment, and before long, five police officers showed up to try to quell the growing tension.
The warehouse, which is the site of the former Alcan Cable, contains thousands of dollars worth of donated materials. Lumber, cabinets, mattresses and box springs, diabetic kits and even some sheet rock, were all left at the warehouse when volunteer Kathleen Johnson moved her operation to a private residence a few weeks ago.
The owner of the warehouse, Gerald Mallon, of Anchor Custom Homes, has said he would not release any of the donated materials until he can see paperwork on who owns the materials and where they are going.
Mallon said he agreed to allow Johnson an office at his plant at the request of the city of Waveland. He said one of his employees who went to seek assistance from the city initiated the conservations.
Johnson works alongside the Waveland Citizens Fund and she uses the funds 501-(c)3 classification as an umbrella to write grants for residents. She has also solicited a large number of supplies and materials from across the country.
Mallon said he believes the materials belong to the citizens of Waveland because Johnson is not a 501(c)3 and he said she represented his warehouse as being affiliated with the Waveland Citizens Fund and the city of Waveland. He said by her using this umbrella, she had basically created her own distribution center in his warehouse.Joan Coleman of the Waveland Citizen's Fund said Tuesday, the mission statement of the fund states it is for anyone south of the Interstate in Hancock County.
She said the mission statement was changed after Johnson came aboard because she was able to use her organization "Katrina Relief" to get supplies and materials, whereas the fund can only deal with cash donations. She said Johnson's aggressive approach to gaining supplies has helped hundreds of people get back into their homes.
"The materials were sent to Kathleen, and she used them as she saw fit," Coleman said. "She has done a wonderful job, it's a shame all of this has happened."One of the groups which donated materials to Johnson was Free Haul Corporation, of Rillito, Az. Friday, Kristina Davis of Free Haul and other volunteers showed up at the Bay St. Louis warehouse in an attempt to get more than $150,000 of lumber she said Free Haul donated and bring it to another warehouse.
"Our goal is to get this lumber released to the people who need it," she said. "We spent months trying to get it here, and if it takes me all of next week to get it out of here that's fine."
Davis said a warehouse located at the Stennis Airport in Kiln is allowing the group to store the lumber there until it can be disbursed.
Waveland officials were also on hand to help facilitate the release.While a truck was being loaded, Davis and other volunteers waited outside the gates of the warehouse. Volunteers told the Echo that nobody was being allowed into the warehouse except a few people who were talking with Mallon.
After one volunteer returned to the gate in tears, the Bay St. Louis Police were called to the scene.
"Its a shame," Jessica Brown said. "I can look across those tracks and see people need this lumber, and we have to go through all of this to get it to them."
Four Bay officers and one from the sheriff's department soon arrived.
Mallon soon walked to the gate and welcomed all media present into the warehouse.
"Who told you you could not come in? He asked. "You are welcome here anytime, we have nothing to hide. These people (volunteers) are using you to portray a negative image of us. I am not trying to stop anything. Trucks have been coming and going, all I am asking for is the proper paperwork."
Mallon said he did not want to release the lumber unless it was to a 501(c)3 group, and he also wanted paperwork from the city of Waveland.
Davis showed the Echo a copy of Free Haul's 501-(c)3.
In the end, the first truckload of lumber left the warehouse and headed for its new home at the airport.
Davis said she believes it will take four or possibly five trucks to get all of the lumber out of the warehouse.
Chris Lagarde of Rep. Gene Taylor's office said in the future he would like to see governmental entities have a say in situations like this.
"Frankly I'm confused," he said. "What we should be concerned about is the people. We need to get over these petty battles. This is a recurring problemthroughout the coast. I would like to see the county or the city be able to have some oversight. I'm not saying anything was done wrong here, but there needs to be some accountability."
Davis said she will not be able to retrieve the rest of the lumber until Monday.

And history on this:

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Community Gardens

Some history:
Several of us "virtual volunteers" have had this idea of get some community gardens established in the Gulf Region. The soil should be far less toxic to work with and to grow edibles in, so we are working toward getting some established.
Lynn, the program director of Katrina's Angels has stepped up to the plate and is working very hard to make this plan a reality. She has a lead on some financial assistance to bring in containers and soil, an expert in Southern horticulture to assist in teaching folks and assisting throughout the growing season.
What we need now is the donation of land. If you or a civic organization has some land they would be willing to donate - and it needn't be a lot - please contact Lynn. Her email is in the msg below. Thanks!

Hello: We have an expert from Mississippi State University willing to work with groups to help get a community garden started. I don't have all the details yet but I think there will be expert advice on how to get the highest yield for the least room.The people are willing to meet with locals in Jackson or Hancock counties to help get the project started and support until harvest.If anyone has land they can volunteer for a community garden or is a FEMA park and has some neighbors that would be interested as well, please let me know. This would be a great project for a community or individuals to supplement their food supplies, beautify their living space and meet some new friends.
Please email me at ProgramDirector@ katrinasangels. org and we'll get started.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

More on HC Skin Infections

POSTED: 6:03 pm CST January 18, 2007
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- State Department of Health officials are investigating bizarre skin lesions and blisters reported by many storm-relief volunteers working in Hancock County.
The department's district medical director, Robert Travnivcek, said for the past several months, health officials have collected evidence and interviewed workers.
Travnivcek said epidemiologists will determine whether the lesions are part of a disease outbreak, a rise in a common infection or simply a coincidence involving unrelated volunteers, who are all working in Hancock County and bothered by similar afflictions.
A nurse practitioner in the emergency room at Hancock Medical Center, Shana Blakeny, said they've been seeing patients with rashes and sores for a long time.
Blakeny said some sores have been large enough to ooze fluid, that is then collected and tested in a local lab.
She said often the results have shown a Staph infection, which can range from a minor skin lesion to life-threatening bloodstream disorders.
The cause of Staph infections is a common bacterium that usually lives on the skin or in the nose. The bacterium gets into the body through a cut or medical incision.
She said the county has dealt with this for about five years but the situation has gotten worse since Hurricane Katrina.
Blakeny said it's likely locals are suffering from the same type of lesions, but have become more accustomed to the infection.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

United Relief Foundation Article


12 West Busse Avenue
Mount Prospect, IL 60056

United Relief Foundation
Post Office Box 9132
Mount Prospect, IL 60056

United Relief aids Mississippi towns
By Nadia MalikDaily Herald Staff Writer
On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, two members of a Mount Prospect-based group are visiting towns in Mississippi that still haven’t recovered.
“It’s still horribly bad down there; I can’t even describe how bad it is,” said Frank Slove, executive director of the United Relief Foundation, which was started in February after it was apparent residents of the coast needed ongoing help.
Slove originally visited the hurricane-ravaged areas last September, just weeks after Katrina hit. This four-day trip, which started Monday, is his fourth to the area.
He and Frank Salato, president of United Relief, are meeting with the mayor of Pass Christian, Miss., and police officers and firefighters who are still homeless.
They also are meeting a school superintendent to assess just how much help is still needed in the schools.
“On the last trip down there, we were talking to a bunch of fire and police personnel,” Slove said. “We listened to their stories and decided we wanted to help the first responders.”
About 30 first responders in Pass Christian are still without homes, Slove said, so he approached firefighters back here in the Northwest suburbs to see if they would help.
Three Buffalo Grove firefighters — Lt. Phil Barry, Kevin Hauber and Jim Hauber — were willing to put in their time. They will be the leaders in raising money for that project.
However, when Buffalo Grove Fire Chief Tim Sashko heard about the project, he wanted the entire department to be involved, Slove said.
So when Slove returns with video footage and photographs, he and the Buffalo Grove Fire Department will sit down and determine the biggest needs, which will include building homes.
Slove said he’ll do the same with Bay High School and Waveland Elementary School, which needs a gymnasium, estimated to cost $100,000, and a biology and chemistry lab, at $150,000 each.
That fundraising initiative will be headed up by Mount Prospect resident Diane Frank.

Weekend collections to aid Katrina schools
Volunteers from the Mount Prospect-based United Relief Foundation along with Firefighters from the Buffalo Grove Fire Department will be collecting donations to aid in the Foundation’s Hurricane Katrina humanitarian efforts.
Wearing Foundation logo shirts or Firefighter attire, volunteers will be collecting Friday and Oct. 27 from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and 9 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 28.
The intersection of Arlington Heights and Lake-Cook Roads will serve as the collections hub.
Donations collected on Friday and Saturday will go into the United Relief Foundation’s Adopt-a-School fund for Bay High and Waveland Elementary Schools, located in Bay St. Louis and Waveland Miss., respectively.
Oct. 27 and 28 donations will go toward the Foundation’s initial $320,000 goal to purchase material to rebuild Mississippi’s Pass Christian First-Responders homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
United Relief Foundation has also scheduled additional rebuilding and renewal Lifeline Missions for November and December which will include the Foundation’s Katrina Kids Holiday Express delivering comfort goods to Hurricane Katrina’s youngest victims.
Founded in February 2006, the United Relief Foundation has provided Hope and Help to Hurricane Katrina victims in the Mississippi Gulf Coast cities of Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Diamondhead, Gulfport, Pass Christian and Waveland.
United Relief Foundation is an Illinois chartered not-for-profit humanitarian aid organization and donations are tax deductible under IRS code 501 (c) (3).
Individuals, groups, businesses and organizations are welcome to participate in United Relief Foundation Hope and Help efforts and Lifeline missions.
To volunteer, make a donation or for additional information contact the United Relief Foundation at (847) 345-2413.

Girl Scouts want to help peers hurt by Katrina
Brownie Troop 414 of Mount Prospect took part in starting United Relief Foundation’s Project Katrina Kids.
Wanting to help children their own age, the Girls Scouts contacted the United Relief Foundation to find out how they could help kids hurt by Hurricane Katrina.
Through a Mississippi Hope and Help Partner, the United Relief Foundation received names of 40 girls Bay St. Louis and Waveland, Miss.
The United Relief Foundation gave the names to the Girl Scouts, which were then divided between three troops, with Brownie Troop 414 writing the first of many messages.
The Brownies didn’t stop at writing messages. They decided to collect donations of items they thought the kids would need.
The messages and collected items will be hand-delivered during the United Relief Foundation’s Relief transport to the Mississippi Gulf region this week.
United Relief Foundation volunteers will take photographs of the messages and items as they are given to the Katrina Kids in Mississippi so the Girls Scouts can see how their thoughtfulness brought some joy to children that lost some much.
For more information call Frank Slove, United Relief Foundation Executive Director, (847) 345-2413 or visit online at www.UnitedReliefFoundation.com

Plenty of Good Eggs at Saint Matthew
“Are you a Good Egg?” was Saint Matthew Catholic Church, 1001 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg, unique way to involve their entire parish, especially the children, in collecting much needed aid to help ease the suffering of Hurricane Katrina victims.
The Parish distributed plastic eggs which contained pieces' of paper that listed 2 or 3 inexpensive easily purchased items and the overwhelming response proved there are plenty of Good Eggs at Saint Matthew.
Monetary donations and relief items were collected at Saint Matthew on March 11th and 12th by United Relief Foundation volunteers and will be used to help ease the suffering of Katrina victims in the Hancock Country region of Mississippi.
“It’s very heartwarming to experience the genuine concern Saint Matthew parishioners still have for Hurricane Katrina victims,” comment United Relief Foundation Executive Director Frank Slove. “Their monetary and supplies contributions will greatly help ease the suffering of many people who lost everything.”
Hancock County, Mississippi was the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. In Katrina's wake of destruction, the lives of the County's residents in Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead and Waveland were devastated and forever changed.
Saint Matthew was canonically established on March 21, 1976 and has grown into a spiritual home of almost 3000 households or 9000 people and parishioners will be joining United Relief Foundation’s Hurricane Katrina rebuilding effort in late April

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

MS Home of Your Own

Mississippi Home of Your Own (HOYO), an award-winning program of the University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies, will sponsor a free, one-day home buyer education workshop Jan. 27 for residents with or without disabilities in Hancock and surrounding counties.
The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hancock County Housing Resource One Stop Center at 640 U.S. 90 in Waveland. HOYO focuses on creating a support system that identifies potential homebuyers, analyzes their housing needs and financial capacity and prepares them for home ownership.
Applicants of the HOYO program must attend homebuyer education seminars to be considered for financial assistance in buying a home. For more information or to preregister for the free home buyer education seminar, call the Hattiesburg office of the Institute for Disability Studies toll free at (888) 671-0051.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Waveland Police Enter BSL

Waveland, relief group tussle over donations, records
WAVELAND - City officials and police officers here crossed city lines into Bay St. Louis earlier this month hoping for access into a warehouse full of Katrina-relief donations, according to volunteers.
Waveland wanted possession of hundreds of files and records used to track the donations and grant money funneled to Hancock County through volunteer relief groups, Waveland officials and volunteers told the Sun Herald.
Bay St. Louis police confirmed last week that they were called to a warehouse at the old Alcan facility on Central Avenue to defuse a situation between Waveland cops and Kathleen Johnson, an Illinois native, who has been coordinating volunteer efforts here since September 2005.
Waveland police attempted to seize the files on Jan. 2, about 10 hours before Alderman Charles Piazza announced his push for a state-sponsored investigation into financial practices at City Hall.
That night, Piazza told the Board of Aldermen that he wanted the State Auditor's Office to examine the city's bankroll and use of Katrina-relief donations. Johnson plans to attend the Board of Aldermen meeting Wednesday and Piazza said he hopes to have aldermen vote on his proposed request for a state audit.
Link From Kathleen

1/31 New Article
Volunteer Kathleen Johnson, who works intimately with arguably the most important non-profit group in the city of Waveland, has served time in federal prison for charges of bank fraud, fraudulent use of social security numbers, and fraud relating to student loans. According to records from the United States Bureau of Prisons and by her own admission, Kathleen Joan Johnson, 55, was convicted in Cheyenne, Wy. in August. 1992 of the three charges.
Johnson served four months in prison and spent three years on probation, federal officials said Monday.
Johnson said Tuesday, the events took place a long time ago and there were a lot of unique circumstances surrounding it. She said she had lost her social security card and she gained another number through medical records. She said the second number was not hers and she used it for years before it was discovered when she went back to school. She said she was going through a bitter divorce and child custody battle at the time and all of these factors had a hand in her conviction. Contrary to the information given by the Bureau of Prisons, she said she only spent four days in jail, and she was held in a facility next to the courthouse and not in federal prison.
Today, she is the director of the volunteer group "Katrina Relief" and has been volunteering in Hancock County since a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Last summer, she was invited to work alongside the Waveland Citizens Fund. She has written grants for citizens and solicited supplies and materials on behalf of the fund.
Once she began working at the Waveland Government Complex, she soon got certification to operate on a database called the CAN (Coordinated Access Network) program.
According to Johnson, it is a database in which one can contact other case managers and get assistance from volunteer organizations. One of the rules of the CAN program is that it must be kept totally separate from any governmental entity, she said. She said she would use the system to assist residents in applying for grants.
"My agreement with CAN and another major grant organization is it cannot be under the directorship of any governmental entity," she said.
She is currently in possession of hundreds of files which contain personal information of Waveland residents.
Over the past few weeks, the files have been the source of a raging controversy in the community.
On Jan. 2, Waveland Public Works Director Ron Calcagno and an off-duty police officer went to see Johnson at the Anchor Homes warehouse to attempt to retrieve the files.
Johnson refused to give up the files and the officials left empty-handed.Monday, Mayor Tommy Longo said he sent them to get the files. He said the officials were simply following orders and the reason why he sent the officials to get the files is because the city was aware of complaints made against Johnson, and that he believed the files belonged to the Waveland Citizens Fund and not Johnson. He said by trying to regain the files he was trying to protect the citizens who gave their personal information.
"My motivation was that we had created the files for months before Kathleen Johnson came aboard," he said. "These files contain lot of information. We have an active police investigation, but we were asked not to talk about it."
Johnson said an attorney cited the fact that the CAN program specifies a separation from any governmental entity as the reason to move away from the city offices.
The Echo has also learned that among those files are numerous Waveland city officials, including Longo.Johnson declined to show the Echo the files, stating they are strictly confidential.
"I wish I could show you, but I can't," she said.
Waveland Assistant Police Chief Mike Prendergast said Monday his department has received complaints pertaining to Johnson, and there is currently an active investigation into these claims. He would not specify what the claims are or who made them.
Likewise, officials in the Illinois Attorney General's office confirmed Monday they have received complaints about Johnson.
"We have received complaints from our consumer fraud bureau and we are looking into those complaints," Scott Mulford said, of the Illinois Attorney General's Office said.
Johnson said she believes certain people are "shifting the blame" and her main focus is still helping people get back into their homes.

1/30 - more re: the issues surrounding this topic:

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Gang Activity Increasing

From Jenni
Gang activity contributing to increased Hancock crime rate

You may have never heard of the Gangsta Disciples, Crips, Simon City Royals, or Latin Kings, but these and other street gangs have caught the attention of law enforcement officials in Hancock County.Over the past year, gang activity has been suspected in numerous crimes in the county, including drive-by-shootings, burglaries, armed robberies, and drug activity, officials said.
"The federal government says any group of more than three is a gang," Chief Investigator Kenny Hurt said Thursday. While most officials do not consider the gang problem in the county a major problem, it is becoming a growing epidemic among the area's youth.
"The Youth Court has had numerous referrals on juveniles who are involved in gangs," Youth Court Administrator Chere Hayward said Thursday. "I believe parents need to be aware that there are actual gangs in our county."
Hayward said there are several signs parents can look for to see if their child is possibly involved in gang activity. She said items such as adding or deleting a primary color in a youth wardrobe, drawing signs or symbols on books or in their room, signs of drug abuse, and increased amounts of money or material possessions without any explanation, could all point to possible gang activity.
Currently, there is a feud between rival gang members in the Lakeshore and Shoreline communities, officials said.
The Shoreline group goes by the nickname "The Shoreline Soldiers," and the Lakeshore group is known as "The Posse," one youth told the Echo.
Both of the group are affiliated with major street gangs such as the "Simon City Royals," (SCR), a gang formed in the streets of Chicago decades ago.
Members of the SCR wear blue, a similar color to the "Crips" a street gang formed in California.
"Monitoring gangs is difficult," Hurt said. "The gangs are the cause of a lot of fights, and trouble making. Most of it is small groups who want to do some dirt."
Hayward warned that even though some consider gang members here may be considered "wanta-bees" they are still capable of causing considerable problems."If someone says they are in a gang, then the gang is here," she said.Gang activity has also been suspected in jail violence. Officials at the Pearl River County Jail said this week that some accusations of officers assaulting inmates are really related to violence among inmates themselves.
"There is intimidation going on between the inmates," Pearl River Chief Deputy Julie Flowers said Thursday. "It is not necessarily gang-related, although some of the members are in gangs. Some of the stronger inmates try to take over the cell, and they have to be placed in lock down."
She said separating the inmates has caused a dramatic drop in the violence.
Officials said the same principal may be true among gangs on the street, as arrests may cut the leadership of the gangs.
Hurt believes the current conditions in the county may be causing more youths to turn towards the gangs.
Hayward urges parents to get more involved.
"There are a number of websites that can provide parents information," she said. "The most important thing a parent can do is get involved in your child's life, make them feel loved and give them a sense of belonging so they don't seek it elsewhere."

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Charity In Action

P. O. Box 455 Bryn Athyn, PA 19009-0455

Charity In Action is a humanitarian and emergency services collaborative. It was founded as a grass-roots response to Hurricane Katrina. Conceived as a way to combine and leverage the commitment of many individual volunteers in coordination with established aid agencies as well as state and local governments, its goal has been to bring rapid relief to areas where there is unmet need, and to continue assistance into the recovery and rebuilding phases.
Charity In Action seeks to identify the greatest needs and to respond. We provide volunteer service work and necessary goods. We do not offer financial grants.

We try to maximize our effectiveness and conserve resources by:
communicating needs to a broad base of supporters
organizing donation drives and packing and transporting donated goods
contacting potential partners to solicit direct donations of goods or services to our beneficiaries
raising funds, and seeking discounted rates through competitive bids on goods and services we must purchase
using volunteer labor whenever possible.

Charity In Action is run by an all-volunteer staff and board.
By check or money order:
Donations may be mailed to:
Charity In Action
P. O. Box 455
Bryn Athyn, PA 19009-0455
Your donation is federal income tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please include your name and address if you would like a receipt. You may also donate (securely) through the website.

Joining Our List of Volunteers:
If you are interested in doing volunteer work for Charity In Action, please send an email to
Volunteers and you will be contacted for further information.
Becoming a Partner:We welcome other businesses and non-profits that would like to work together and share in our mission. If your organization can donate goods or services directly to our beneficiaries, or offer special discounts to us when we purchase items for them, please contact the Director, Frank Vagnone, at frank.vagnone.
Thank You!

Charity In Action is sponsoring a service trip by Bryn Athyn College of the New Church to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery. 14 students and 4 adults will go to Pearlington, MS in late February 2007 to spend a week working on the rebuilding effort.While CiA is subsidizing a large portion of the cost per student, as well as paying for tools and supplies for the rebuilding projects, the students are working hard on raising additional funds themselves.
Their main fundraiser is a raffle. If you would like to support the students making this trip, and you live close enough to Bryn Athyn, PA to enjoy the prize, please consider purchasing raffle tickets from them.
Prize: Dinner for four in the tower at Glencairn Museum (fully catered, five-course dinner), as well as a private behind-the-scenes tour of Glencairn with Museum Director Stephen Morley Ticket Price: $10 Drawing: May 5, 2007 (at Bryn Athyn College Fun Fair)
Benefits: 85% of proceeds go to C.A.R.E., the Bryn Athyn College community service organization, to support service trips. 15% goes to the Glencairn Museum Fund to help subsidize the cost of educational trips to the museum.
To purchase tickets, contact Hannah Simons at 267-502-2829 or email hannah.simons@brynathyn.edu.
To see more about Pearlington, MS, visit http://www.prcvolunteers.blogspot.com/
or read a recent Washington Post article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/27/AR2007012701154.html
For more information on Bryn Athyn College see http://www.brynathyn.edu/
To learn more about Glencairn Museum visit http://www.glencairnmuseum.org/.

We have continued to supply needed items for the Hancock County Distribution Warehouse. In September we purchased a truckload of bottled water – a total of 36,480 ½-liter bottles! These are used both for volunteer workers and for residents whose well water is unfit to drink. In October we bought 400 sheets of drywall with jointing compound and tape, 37 doors, and 30 insulated windows. These are distributed to people trying to rebuild their homes. Case managers coordinate the process, examining the circumstances of individuals and deciding where the need is greatest.
Unfortunately the Warehouse has lost its government funding and has to close in December, which puts some of the people who worked there out of a job. Several of these people plan to transfer their center of operations to the PowerHouse of Deliverance Ministry in Bay St. Louis, so that they can keep up the good work.
Charity In Action’s newest project for the future is helping young people to get involved in service. For the next three years we plan to support Bryn Athyn College in sending student service trips to work in the hurricane-damaged area. The next trip will be in spring 2007, and Charity In Action has pledged to subsidize a large portion of the cost per student and to give additional funds for building materials.
Charity In Action remains an all-volunteer organization. In this way we minimize our operating costs although we must still cover legal, tax accounting, insurance, information technology, and miscellaneous expenses. By maintaining our structure we can be ready to mobilize and respond quickly in the event of another major disaster.
Our donors and our volunteers make this possible. Thank you!

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Camp Victor

Donations to Katrina relief are tax deductible. Make checks payable to "LSSDR." Donations are used to purchase building materials, tools and supplies as well as donations that directly benefit those displaced by the storm.
Mail To:
Camp Victor
Attention: Jon Biggs
1515 Government Street.
Ocean Springs, MS 39564-3825

Christus Victor Church, located in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, became a hurricane disaster response center for communities along the Gulf Coast from Pascagoula to Ocean Springs to Biloxi within days of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in August 2005. The hurricane caused damage to thousands of homes along the Mississippi coast. They were damaged, destroyed or made uninhabitable. There continues to be a great need to provide interim services to hurricane victims (food and supplies) and to aid in the clean-up, repair, and re-construction of damaged homes.
During the months that followed Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the church's walls were stretched trying to accommodate the regular church services and activities, as providing office space for case management and housing and feeding thousands of volunteers.
In June 2006, we moved our operations to Camp Victor, a new facility inside a former factory. The larger space allowed us to consolidate all our departments under one roof.
Camp Victor is a ministry of Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response and Lutheran Disaster Response.

Camp Victor (a ministry of Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response) has a number of services to help those displaced or otherwise effected by Hurricane Katrina. If you have specific needs, come talk to one of our case workers, who will attempt to help you in whatever manner we can. We also have a number of more general services, including:
Distribution of Food and Supplies
House and Yard Cleanup, Drywall Installation, Repairs

Our Distribution Center provides supplies to about one hundred and fifty families per day, with an expenditure averaging $10,000 per day. If you are able to help with this cost, please see our current needs page for information on donations.

For donations of physical goods contact Bob Montgomery in the Distribution Center at 228-860-7266, or bbmonty@mindspring.com
Food Kits
With the following items, you can create food kits that will feed a family of 4 for 3 days. Items not currently listed here are already well-stocked (cereal, cookies, peanut butter, box milk). We will add these items to your food boxes
• oatmeal (1 med canister)
• breakfast bars 2 boxes
• juice: 2 ea 46 oz. jugs or 10 pack of juice boxes
• 4 cans canned fruit
• 4 cans/packs chicken
• 2 cans meat
• 1 bottle grape jelly/strawberry jam
• 2 boxes pasta
• 1 bag rice
• Mac & cheese
• rice mixes
• canned meals (i.e., Chef Boyardee)
• 4 cans soup
• 6 cans vegetables
• 2 cans baked beans
• snacks: box of bars, crackers, puddings, etc.
First Aid Kits
• adhesive bandages
• antiseptic ointments
• cortisone cream
• OTC medications
• triple antibiotic cream
• aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen
• tweezers
• adhesive tape
• gauze pads
Hygiene Kits - Adult
• deodorant
• shampoo
• razors
• shaving gel/cream for men and women
• liquid hand soap
• hand & bath soap
• feminine hygiene products
• hand sanitizer
Hygiene Kits - Infant
• diaper wipes
• baby shampoo
• diaper rash cream
• baby wash
• baby lotion
• baby powder
• Vaseline jelly
Other Needs
• face, hand & bath towels
• disposable tissues
• paper towels
• toilet paper
• insect repellant
• sun block
• 1/2 liter bottled water (for volunteer work crews)
• cleaning supplies - bleach, laundry detergent, liquid dish soap, cleanser, all purpose cleaners

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Buy A Cotton Throw

Found by Karen
Eight years ago, artist in residence, Henry Gonzales created a drawing that captured the beauty and magic of Bay St. Louis. That drawing was put on a beautiful blanket that immediately became popular with locals and visitors alike. The late artist and his widow, Yvette, graciously donated the rights to his artwork to Hope Haven Shelter (http://www.hopehavenshelter.org/annual.html - scroll down)
to be used as a means to raise money for the shelter. Hundreds of throws were sold when they first came out, maybe as many as 3,000 between 1998 and 2002. We stopped ordering them in 2003 because the sales fell and the price for a minimum order was several thousands of dollars, and we just couldn't justify tying that much money up. But now, because of Katrina, we have tested the waters once again with a small order, and found that people love them as much as they did before. So many of the people who owned them before had lost them in the storm and were thrilled to learn they could replace them.
The throws come in three colors, red, hunter green and deep blue and have scenes from all around the Bay: sadly, some that no longer exist except in our memories. They are a good size and 100% cotton and make wonderful Christmas gifts or gifts for the volunteers who come to help rebuild. Throws are available for purchase at C.J.s. restaurant in the historic Depot District or you may contact us directly. The total price is $45.00 each or $40.00 on multiple orders. I have several that I purchased when they first came out and I still use them to cuddle up with while watching TV. (from Terry)
They really are great and they honor a city that is "A Place Apart"…
Contact Hope Haven Shelter at:
PO Box 3777Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 39521
Email: Children@hopehavenshelter.org

1/14 - yes, Terry said people can order through the Pay Pal Account online. $45 + 10 in shipping.
I emailed Terry to see if folks could order these through Hope Havens existing Pay Pal account. Will let you know when I know!

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pictures End of December

A house off Pearl River, I think.

The top of someone's home from an unknown place.

Rebuilding anew in Pearlington

Someone cared for this car - the Emergency Brake is still on...

An unknown future for an apparently solid house.

What is left of the town between Pearlington and NOLA

A very nice house with very exposed pipes

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