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New relief effort begins

GULFPORT Miss. — Major relief efforts have started again to assist members whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina said Elder John S. Anderson Area Seventy who is heading the effort.
Independent LDS volunteers for Mormon Helping Hands remove rubble in Chalmette La. A priesthood-organized relief effort of volunteers with building skills has started to help members who are still without good housing.

Over the past weekend from June 1-4 volunteers from the Powder Springs Georgia and Gulfport Mississippi stakes began replacing roofs of the many LDS families whose homes have not been repaired.
Shortages of housing supplies and workers have left many Church members unprotected as a new hurricane season starts he said. A recent survey conducted by priesthood leaders among about 160 LDS families living on the Mississippi and Louisiana coast — those who bore the brunt of the storms damage — showed most still have unmet housing and medical needs.
Of 131 families with housing needs 75 have moderate to severe damage 52 medium to high. Some 44 families have medical needs that are not being met. Some 35 households have unemployment issues.
Elder Anderson said that often families who have been heavily impacted by the disaster have challenging emotional health issues as well.
Teams of these volunteers from other stakes will continue working on members homes in areas from Slidell La. to Pascagoula Miss. Elder Anderson said.
The renewed relief effort began this month with about 70 volunteers from Georgia and Mississippi working on some five roofs replacing some from the trusses upward as wells as installing extensive electrical wiring and drywall. The visiting volunteers camped on the grounds of the Gulfport stake center local RV parks and motels. They worked long days and completed a significant amount of work before returning home.
The spirit of brotherhood and charity were felt by all and made a tremendous impact on lives said President Robert P. Garrett of the Gulfport stake. The families assisted the work teams on site. We had a moving testimony meeting on Sunday morning.
But there is tremendous work yet to be done said President Garrett. There is just too much to do with the resources of (local) manpower.
Church members volunteering on their own have also contributed many hours of service. Among these a group of Davis County Utah and Canadian volunteers mostly Church members worked May 6-15 in the greater New Orleans area partly with the Churchs Helping Hands effort and partly with interfaith volunteers.
The Church is so amazing there said Aneladee Milne of the Bountiful (Utah) Val Verda 3rd Ward one of the organizers. They worked in Chalmette the West Bank Jefferson Parish and Metarie during the project. She said the Church was well-respected for its efforts.

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