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Ike-caused needs met in Indiana

Despite being some 1100 miles away from Texas hard-hit Galveston Island and metropolitan Houston area southern Indiana first felt the wrath of the remnants of Hurricane Ike and then witnessed relief efforts with local Church members working side by side with friends of other faiths.
Photo by C. E. Branham The News and TribuneThree-year-old Mason Farmer of the Charlestown Branch lends a hand in distributing canned food.
In Charlestown Ind. 20 miles north of Louisville Ky. high winds of a rare dry storm reached Category 1 levels — 80-plus mph gusting as high as 110. The result: extensive power outages lasting at least a week for many of the 19000 residents in and around Charlestown and a must-boil mandate for drinking water for nearly as long.
Two days after the storm President David D. Fielding of the Charleston Branch New Albany Indiana Stake arranged with the Indianapolis Bishops Storehouse for the distribution of bottled drinking water and use of generators. Two days after that he reported many households in Indianas north Clark County area — on fixed incomes or welfare — were losing what limited food they had on hand as it spoiled in unpowered refrigerators and freezers.
Within 24 hours of his request to help provide several days of food for an estimated 800 Charlestown-area households two semi-trailers carrying 50 pallets of food arrived with distribution set for the next day Saturday Sept. 20.
Not wanting other local churches to feel slighted or excluded President Fielding contacted the North Clark Ministerial Association to ask about a shared relief effort with other church leaders assigned to supervise the 200-strong volunteers about half of the number being LDS members.
Other churches also collected donations from their members to purchase 1600 loaves of bread which were added to the food sent from the Indianapolis storehouse and the eggs and milk purchased by the Church locally.
We added it all together to come up with a healthy complete series of meals said President Fielding.
From an elementary school parking lot volunteers distributed food — nearly all that was delivered and donated — to grateful Charlestown residents for nearly six hours. An estimated 850 families — or a total of 2700 people — received food to sustain them for three to four days.
Remaining food supplies first were delivered by local fire departments to residents who couldnt get to the school to pick up their own with the rest then taken to area food banks their own supplies having been depleted after the storm.
Charlestown Branch members also logged some 500 hours in clean up efforts cutting fallen trees and branches throughout the area.
Besides providing temporal blessings to fellow citizens President Fielding said branch members enjoyed the shared service with fellow Christian neighbors and friends. It was fun to work side by side with them he added.
Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall complimented the combined charitable efforts.
Theyve got the right heart and the right focus he told The Evening News and Tribune so its the perfect fit for something like this.
E-mail to: taylor@desnews.com

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