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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina Relief: Another Update

Correspondent Nolan Dynamite posted this last night. He's down on the beach in LA (Lower Alabama), one of the areas hard hit by Katrina. I apologize for not posting it sooner. Here is his post in its entirety:

If you get it here, we'll get it to the people who need it

I've been away from south Alabama for a few days, and I came back to find the hurricane relief effort running at an incredible pace in the Prodisee Center of the Spanish Fort United Methodist Church. As I stepped back in the office, I was met by the relief coordinator (a volunteer from the church) who took me into the new relief office and explained to me all that was going on. She had dry-erase boards with schedules of trucks that were coming from all over the country. I can't remember it all, but I know she said that she was expecting a truck from Delaware and that the folks from Kansas City were sending back six tractor trailers by Friday.

The Prodisee Center is a shopping center that Spanish Fort UMC purchased a few years ago. The church is slowly in the process of turning it fully into a community center. Currently, they have not put anything in the old grocery store space. That space is now the hurricane warehouse. It is full of clothes waiting to be sent out to affected areas in south Mobile County, AL, and southern Mississippi. I asked if we had too much there. I was quickly told that the entire room has been emptied and refilled twice already! Another store front, The Gathering Place, is currently being used as a food pantry. As quick as food and supplies come in, they are sent out.

In the parking lot of the Prodisee Center were five Penske trucks. These trucks were being filled with food and supplies and driven into the hurricane zone and unloaded. Each truck was making multiple trips per day. The folks who had driven the trucks said it would crush your spirit to see what some of the towns in south Mississippi looked like.

Here's what I learned happened between Friday morning and today. The folks in the church and the staff got fed up that it was so difficult to get any answers on where to send stuff, who was doing what, and how we could help. They took the bull by the horns. Their motto became, "If you get it here, we'll get it to the people who need it." They are doing it.

So, here is how you can help:

- First, you can donate. I posted a link to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) earlier. They are still an option, but if you would prefer, you can send a check directly to Spanish Fort United Methodist Church (see address at the end of this post) marked "Hurricane Relief" and it will be immediately used in this operation.

- Second, if you get it here, we'll get it to the people who need it. I challenge you, your church groups, your co-workers, your schools, your friends, etc. to get together and fill up some boxes. You can mail them to us, or load up a truck and bring it down. Thing big (moving trucks, not pick-ups).

Here is what is needed the most:

- stuff for kids - kids are sitting in their destroyed neighborhoods with nothing to do - little toys, coloring books, bubbles, etc.
- bug repellent spray - the same folks are getting eaten by mosquitoes as they sleep on their porches
- baby supplies - this will be a long term need - diapers, wipes, formula, etc. are all needed
- sheets, blankets, and pillows - this is a huge need; folks are sleeping on the ground
- plus-size clothing - other than plus-size stuff, we are holding off on more clothes until we get basic needs taken care of

We're also making flood buckets. These are used for clean-up in flooded areas. They contain the following (send some or all of these contents, we are willing to assemble them):

5-gallon bucket with resealable lid
bleach (1 quart or 82 oz. bottle)
scouring pads, sponges, scrub brushes
cleaning towels (reusable wipes)
liquid laundry detergent
household cleaner (12-16 oz. bottles)
disinfectant dish soap (16-28 oz. bottles)
clothes pins, clothes lines (50 ft. or 100 ft.)
dust masks, latex gloves, work gloves
roll of heavy duty trash bags (33-45 gallon capacity)
insect repellent spray (6-14 oz.)
air freshener (8 or 9 oz. cans)

You can also send "health kits". Place all of these items in a one gallon Ziploc bag:

1 hand towel
1 wash cloth
large comb
nail file or nail clippers
1 bath size bar of soap
1 adult size toothbrush
1 large tube of toothpaste
box of band-aids

Other than these things, non-perishable food items work well, too.

So, get to collecting and sending. Also, please share this with your friends, post it on your blog, or work on this with your family. You can check out the Spanish Fort UMC website for more information. If you need more information, let me know.

Spanish Fort United Methodist Church
6530 Spanish Fort Blvd., Suite D
Spanish Fort, AL 36527

One other thing: check out this cool story of how some Auburn University students responded last week.


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