Saturday, September 17, 2005

Katrina Guests Update 9-17-05

Katrina Update 9-17-05

This week has been a good week for many of our new guests. Several have started working full time in the hotel industry cleaning rooms. Others have had job interviews or started new jobs. Most of our efforts have been focused on assessing the needs of our guests and connecting them to resources. A major request is to secure a job.

Many on the 3rd floor watched the presidential address from New Orleans. Some of our guests were hopeful; others seem angry about their loss and how the government was slow to respond. We took one resident to the airport this morning to get on a plane bound for the New Orleans area. He gave us $50.00, which we told him we would not accept. He persevered and said he appreciated the help he was given and said to use it as we saw fit.

His story reflects the gratitude that we have felt from many of these displaced persons. They all struggle with their loss but are thankful that they have a safe respite with many helping hands. One of our case managers speaks a little Spanish which has helped with the Spanish speaking people who have arrived. Volunteer translators have been invaluable as have many others who have pitched in on our supply processing. This morning three different groups representing three different churches worked side by side on the sorting project. Welcomed is one of our family shelter residents from Market Street who is fluent in Spanish and English. She has been working beside our staff every day this week. She was eager to help with the situation. Yesterday we loaded a truck full of can goods that Rev. Lewis Coleman was delivering to Moss Point, Mississippi.

Nina just checked in a new man from New Orleans today who had been a patient at University Hospital. He has pneumonia as a result of wading in chest deep water for several days. We gave him a room to himself and he has a sack of medicine he is taking. Please say a special prayer for him as he recovers.

Not everything is perfect. Some residents have problems we hope they will tackle before leaving here or after they return. We see cultural variation that we are trying to understand. But I can tell you that they are all good people, our brothers and sisters, God’s children, and they have experienced a tremendous loss and grieve daily.

Keep them in your prayers.

Update: We just received a referral from the Red Cross – three families that just arrived in Louisville.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina Guests Update 9-12-05

One of our guests began a new job today. Many others are interviewing while their children are beginning school. It has been a major adjustment for them all but as each day passes it seems a little easier. Knowing that there is a nice place to sleep, three meals served daily and a lot of people wanting to help goes a long way in allowing people to adjust to the crisis and move forward. The Mission had three case managers working with people into the night. We have several Spanish speaking families and our lack of translators slows our work. Any one that can translate would be a very welcome volunteer. We also see the need for people willing to provide activities for children. A volunteer tonight sat down with three young children and played a board game. Two Lay Counselors from Southeast Christian came and began to help people feel loved and sort out problems. Brother Pat Wright with the Cathedral also came and visits with several guests and will be working on providing weekly mass and other deacons to assist. Jeff Tang came and worked the desk and did a great job supporting the young people. It is about 9 PM and about three dozen adults and youth from local churches are working on the first floor sorting canned goods and preparing supplies. Our community is truly blessed with a host of wonderful people.

I know with God’s help that our guests will get through what has happened, but it will always be with them. Some will remember that they had help and were touched by a caring community. Please keep these people in your prayers. They are wonderful guests in our community.

Katrina Guests Pictures 9-11-05

Rev. Joe Phelps shares a message of Hope

Bo of Bo's Barbecue Cooks up a Cajan Meal

Tri County Fellowship Provides a Movie Night

Wonderful Music during the Picnic

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina Guests Update 9-11-05

Volunteer Hospitality Workers Keep It Organized

Sunday began at the 432 East Jefferson Street 3rd floor with breakfast followed by an opportunity to worship and sing. Pastor Joe Phelps brought a message of hope while his associate Chris Sanders played his guitar and led the group to sing praise hymns. After lunch several guests left with their children for a free trip to the zoo. Later in the afternoon Country Bo's Meals on Grills prepared a Cajun cook out for the residents that included grilled shrimp, deep fried turkey, red beans and rice, hot dogs, hamburgers, and slaw. During the meal a wonderful duet performed by singing and playing a variety of musical numbers. We got a copy of the SECC Outlook paper that featured one of the families staying with us. During the meal I had the opportunity to show this to them for the first time and give them a copy. They were excited that they had been able to tell their story to so many through print. All enjoyed the time out doors in the courtyard.

Tri-County Christian Fellowship led by Pastor Jeff Combs held our first “Sunday Night at the Movies”. The group brought a real movie popcorn machine, candy and soft drinks. They showed one movie for the kids and two for the adults (one of which was in Spanish). The church youth group assisted serving on the second floor.

If that were not enough, I gave a plea for a volunteer blitz between one and six PM to completely ready the second floor for new dislocated persons. I had thought we would have been ready by Saturday evening but just did not make it. I called all the TV stations and asked them to get the word out Saturday evening on their news reports. I also called several of my friends that are in large Sunday school classes and asked them to get the word out. Low and behold we had a huge crowd of workers most of the day. People came with their 409 and Fantastic, towels and cleaning cloths, ready to work. And work they did until the rooms were ready for additional Katrina victims.

God Bless You All!

Katrina Pictures 9-10-05

Father Judie has a service for Catholic Guests

Girl Scouts from Nelson County Volunteers

Mary D. Cuts Hair in the 'Mission: Hair' Salon

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina Guests Update 9-10-05

Katrina Guests Update 9-10-05

Another busy day today as we worked to help many of our newer guests access services and begin to settle into their new surroundings. One volunteer has been working hard to set up a beauty salon. In one day she was able to get the local inspections completed and then go to Frankfort to get the license needed for beauticians to volunteer to work on hair. The Pavilion building had most of the plumbing and sinks in place but needed hair stations and several needed items were donated from local salons. We still need two multi purpose chairs to do it right. Three Katrina residents got their hair cut today in the new salon called “Mission: Hair”. One is starting work on Monday and the other two are boys that will start school. We could use some additional licensed beauticians to help share the load. Someone to work on nails would also be nice. If you come you will need to bring your “tools”. We have the sanitizer and a dryer. Call and we will schedule times.

Tonight Father John Judie, pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church, performed Mass for our Catholic residents. Father Judie is from New Orleans and his message was very helpful for many of the residents. Father Judie brought his assistant Father Charles and his brother and his kids who are evacuees. Sister Sue from the Ursuline Order came and translated the service for the Hispanic guests. The Mission Choir performed as part of the service. One resident said she had not had communion since before the storm and she had not been able to sleep. After the service she said “now I am alright, now I will be able to sleep”. Others said “the choir really touched me”.

A number of volunteers came and assisted with sorting donations and supplies and put together care packages. One African American church had about 40 workers helping today. At the end of the day they surrounded the lobby, held hands, and prayed for the evacuees. A Girl Scout Troop from Nelson County came and sorted food items. Volunteer Hospitality Helpers did a great job keeping things clean and organized on the guests’ floor.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina Guests Update 9-9-05

Congresswomen Anne Northup visits with our Guests

Katrina Update 9-9-05

Today Nina showed a Hispanic couple from Mississippi our dining room. One of the Hispanic children already placed with us came up to him and said with a smile on his face “it’s goooood!” The husband then asked if it was free? She then answered “yes, it is all free”. I thought how wonderful it is to live in a community that can support such an effort as this and then to be able to say “yes, it is all free.” The man’s wife gave Nina a hug after seeing their new room and said, “this is beautiful.”

Several additional families, a couple, and three single males entered the Mission’s facility today. Most that enter are exhausted, first taking a shower or bath. Then they rest, followed by a walk through our supply room, gathering much needed toiletry items, clothing, shoes and many other necessities. A couple from New Orleans entered exhausted and full of grief, tearfully wondering about the future.

So far the TLC and the well prepared and stocked facilities, the listening staff and volunteers help to calm the waters and spark some hope. Faith is critical to rekindling that hope and trust that God will see them through.

We have been trying to get our phone company to donate 4 lines into the facility for use by the residents and their helping professionals. As our numbers grow the additional lines have become critical. I was to get a call back from a Bell South representative before the close of business. It is now 9:00 PM and no one is in their offices. My experience with Insight Communication was wonderful. We requested cable for the victims and they were installing the cable before the day was over, all at no charge, just wanting to help the victims. Waste Management has increased our trash disposal without a charge. With only a few exceptions, local business and venders have bent over backwards to help. What a blessing it has been for these fellow citizens during their time of need.

Several persons have begun to volunteer as Hospitality Helpers on the residents’ floor. They are wonderful people, giving up their time so freely.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Katrina Updates 9-7 and 9-8-05

There has been an outpouring of supplies and other assistance that has been received or offered to help with the Katrina victims. One of the supporters wrote me this email that sums it up… “Tonight I came down with a load of clothes, personal items and coloring books and was so thankful I had to WAIT in a blessing to have to WAIT to donate:)”.

Many volunteers are working with staff to organize these items so they can be best used for the relief effort. The Mission’s two thrift stores have also been designated as furniture support locations to help furnish families’ new living arrangements. Both stores are also supplying clothing to those that need help.

One of our first families that arrived at the Mission was relocated with the help of a mother and her daughter, their church and a group of concerned Louisvillians. We said our good byes and pray for their continued progress getting though the crisis that hit them so hard. As they left they promised to take Nina and me out to dinner the next time we visit New Orleans. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to serve those in need if even for a short time. These people are very grateful for all that our community is doing.

Before we left tonight our first single man and single woman arrived, along with another couple. The woman drove up in a rented car from Houston were she had been in the Astrodome. She reported that she was a chemist and was the only one in her family that made it out alive, being air lifted from her home a few days earlier. The pain and shock is heartbreaking to see. We pray God’s blessings on those that have lost their homes and often family and friends.

Katrina Update 9-8-05
Another busy day as others arrive by car and bus checking into the Red Cross and then the Mission. Today we began to make significant progress working with clients as three Wayside case managers begin to process the new residents. A fourth social worker arrived from Northern KY to spend 4-5 days in Louisville working at Wayside with the children, making sure their needs were being addressed. Her church is planning to also assist residents in their area. Rev. William Nelson, Pastor of Greater St. Mark’s Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor John Crittenden of Forest Baptist Church visited our residents and offered prayer and support. Each of these churches is planning to help with our efforts by volunteering and supporting the Mission financially. Pastor Crittenden invited our residents to a picnic that his church is having this Saturday. All of the residents present signed up for this opportunity. We received a check today for $65 that stated “for McDonald’s for the children”. A new family from Biloxi arrived a few minutes ago and began crying when they got off the elevator and saw that some of their neighbors were already staying with us. They hugged each other before going to their room to get some much needed rest.

Today we compiled a list of services we are offering to our new residents (see below).

Wayside Christian Mission (502)584-3711 or 345-6100
Displaced Citizen’s Housing and Supportive Services
432 East Jefferson Street (Do Not go to our Emergency Shelter on East Market Street)

Long and Short Term Housing (1day-6 months)
Hotel Room Floor Plan
Private bath, shower and toilet
3 Buffet Meals prepared and served daily
All Rooms handicap accessible
Cable TV in all rooms
Designated smoking area on floor
Most Pets Allowed or arrangements available
Common Areas on each floor include
Big Screen Cable TV
Washer and Dryer
Computer with High Speed Access
WiFi internet access
Children’s Activity Center
Children’s Services
Jefferson County Public School Registration on Site
School Transportation – Directly to and from facility
Private School Placement – no tuition fees
Wayside Child Development Center
Free preschool/child care (limited entry)
After school program available
Children’s Activity Center
Video Games
Cable TV
Board Games
Supportive Services
Case manager on site
Assessment, counseling and referral
Job Placement Assistance
House and Apartment Placement Assistance
Transportation Assistance Available
Hygiene Supplies Available and on site
Clothing Available and on site
Bicycles for transportation available on site
Auxiliary Services in Walking Distance
Bus Line
Medical Hospitals
Medical Clinics
Supermarket and Pharmacy (next door)
Catholic Church (next door), Protestant Churches (walking distance)
Waterfront Park (walking distance)
Downtown services and entertainment (walking distance)
Art Gallery District – adjacent

Please also notice that we have been developing volunteer jobs specifically for our Katrina housing efforts. Please let us know if you are interested in any of the opportunities listed.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Guests Update, 9-05

Several members from SECC took about 30 of our guests shopping at Wal-Mart. Each resident was given $80.00 to purchase needed items. After shopping they went to a member’s house for a picnic and fellowship. Our guests were very grateful. Many of those arriving have been taking advantage of some of the home cooking that has been dropped off by volunteers.
About 5:00 PM today Reverend Kevin Cosby and his daughter visited the living quarters sharing how his church, St. Stephens Baptist, was interested in helping with the refugee situation. Waves of donations continue to pour in and this week we will be packaging items to help with relief support all over town and in the devastated areas. 

As Nina and I prepared to leave we spoke with our guests. Several are planning a scout trip to New Orleans and the surrounding area to see what is left of their houses and to check on relatives. The children are watching TV and playing video games. Tomorrow they will be enrolled in JCPS. One lady is looking for a website to assist her with her insurance. She read with shock a report stating that her home town was no longer on the map. 

Time and again I have heard “thank you.”   Louisville is such a caring community. They are really grateful for all that has been done for them. 

Other Happenings:
-- Henryville Community Church from Henryville, Indiana brought down a caravan of trucks with supplies.
-- East Bullitt County football team brought several trucks of supplies.
-- Volunteers are fixing up the beauty shop to assist with residents.
-- People continue to offer to share a bedroom or a house or apartment.
-- Several guests packed their cars with donated food, drinks, and supplies to return to New Orleans to asses their loss. They will return to their families on Friday.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina Guests Update, 9-04

This morning members of SECC picked up several of the Katrina victims and took them to church. Ft. Simon Sauer, a VA Chaplain came at the request of one of the residents to speak with a priest and ministered to several of the people while he was here. Bruce Herring, an African American pastor at a Jeffersontown church and his associate came in the afternoon and served communion. Vicki, an African American volunteer chaplain from St. Stephen’s Baptist came and gave support to several victims throughout the day. 

Waves of volunteers and supporters continued throughout the day however the numbers dropped dramatically during the UofL vs. UK game (imagine that). Many people and churches are communicating with us willing to help when the time is right. Several are offering housing. Most of our guests are trying to adjust to what has happened to them and will be staying for a period of time until they get their bearings. Several are exploring job opportunities. This is a partial list of some of the jobs and professions they had before Katrina: a pharmacist, a pharmacist assistant, a DelMonte food processor, a shrimp boat captain, a manager of a restaurant on Bourbon Street, a cable installer, a casino worker, several construction workers. These folks want to work again, get back on their feet and begin rebuilding their lives.
Around noon today one supporting family brought down two buckets of KFC that our guests enjoyed. Towards the end of the day one of the volunteers working on the second floor bought 50 dollars worth of KFC for all the volunteers working with them. Several volunteers have been here since morning and it is nearly 10:30 PM as I write this update. People just want to help anyway they can.

Other Happenings:
-- Our youngest couple got a visit from the wife’s mother who is staying with her grandmother in Louisville. She has two Maltese dogs that she brought with her from Mississippi.
-- We dropped off a truck load of supplies to families that Rev. Louis Coleman is working with that are staying with relatives and friends in the community. The victims were so very appreciative of the donated hygiene items and clothing.
-- A Church from Orleans, Indiana delivered a truck load of clothing and food with a cash donation of 175 dollars.
-- A truck load from Radcliff Kentucky arrived with food and clothing
-- A truck loaded with mostly food arrived from First Baptist Church from Austin Indiana
-- Many individuals dropped off newly purchased supplies, unloading trunk loads of Wal-Mart bags filled with supplies

As Nina and I left this evening, many guests surrounded the TV in the community room watching the latest news about the destruction of Katrina and the aftermath. Please keep them in your prayers. Tim

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina Guests Update, 9-03

Two additional Katrina Hurricane families arrived at the Mission’s Pavilion property at 432 East Jefferson Street today. This brings the total to 10 families or about 45 people. The clients were helped by a variety of individuals and groups during the day. The families loaded onto a bus provided by Southeast Christian Church taking them to their Life Bridge program to pick out clothing and supplies this morning. Around noon a concerned women called in an order to McDonalds for 16 Mighty Meals. Members of the Shelbyville VFW dropped off donations and a check for over a thousand dollars to help with the effort. The group raised the money at their fish fry the night before. Later in the day the SECC church sent lay counselors to listen to and pray with many of the victims. A young doctor and his family spent much of the afternoon volunteering after dropping off donations. He then went to McDonalds and bought food for the families’ lunch and for some of the other volunteers. This evening Browning’s at Louisville Slugger Field provided a sit down meal in the restaurant for the families.   Many helpers dropped off fresh baked goods, snacks and pop for the victims. 

We have been able to set up two game cubes for the children to play and a makeshift kitchen in the multipurpose room on the 3rd floor. We also now have high speed internet access for families to search and post information. A phone line with long distance access has also been installed.  Waves of donations came throughout the day and volunteers helped to sort items for later distribution. Volunteers also worked throughout the day cleaning rooms and making beds for additional refugees. Rev. Louis Coleman visited the shelter and the Mission will be sharing some of the resources we have received with the 3 refugee families he is working with through his church. Rev. Bruce Herring pastor of a Jeffersontown church brought a team of his members down to assist with efforts during the entire day. Chris Sanders a local union representative met with several of the refugees linking them to immediate job openings.  

Many people have been emailing and calling offering to volunteer and secure needed items. We are working with any group or household that needs our assistance helping with refugees that may be staying with them. 

Keep the refugees in your prayers. Many are tired and exhausted from travel and in a state of emotional shock.     Tim