Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mississippi: Paying it Forward

After the 28 foot storm surge of Hurricane Katrina receded from the Mississippi shoreline, we stood in awe and shock at the destruction along the 66 miles of shoreline, bayous, rivers, creeks, and bays. Homes were swept into the Mississippi Sound and in thousands of places, they only thing left after decades of hard work was concrete slabs. We well understand the damage a hurricane's storm surge can do and the upheaval and chaos it can create.

The hurricane's fury was no match for the will of the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Chainsaws were whipped out and roads began to be cleared. The hard and dirty work of cleaning and recovery began. We were resolved to clean the mess and rebuild better and stronger. Thousands upon thousands of volunteers came and helped us with the back-breaking work in the sweltering heat. Millions upon millions donated money to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other groups. Churches, synagogues, civic organizations and others across the country gathered supplies.

Mississippi was hit with two tsunamis. The first was Katrina's storm surge. The second and far larger one was the amount of help we received. We stayed glued to our TV sets as Hurricane Ike struck along the Texas and Louisiana coastlines. We saw the destruction Ike's storm surge caused and we saw images of destruction that rivaled Hurricane Katrina's. Then groups got together to pay it forward.

Churches such as Bel-Aire Baptist began collecting supplies. People brought canned goods, water and other supplies. These supplies will go to those in Lake Charles Louisiana and Beaumont Texas. These towns have received very little news coverage but the destruction is massive.

Another group, the TrailGrazHers collected eight horse trailers of food, toiletries and other supplies. Monday evening, they arrived in San Leon, Texas. Tuesday morning, they began distributing the supplies. They also began looking around other areas to see what else is needed.

These are but two examples of what south Mississippians are doing to help our neighbors in Texas. The news coverage of Hurricane Ike has been overwhelmed by the financial meltdown of Wall Street and the politics of the presidential race.

Towns such as Port Arthur, Bridge City, Orange, and Beaumont have received very little attention. Pictures are worth thousands of words. Let's not forget them.

To help:

Red Cross
Salvation Army
United Jewish Communites
Feeding America(formerly Second Harvest
Houston SPCA
Portlight (A great organization that came to my attention via Weather Underground)

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