Sponsor a Hurricane Affected Family

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A volunteer group is meeting the lastest need in Mississippi. They are creating $500 Home Starter Kits which contain all the living essentials for families who have lost everything and are moving into FEMA trailers. You can sponsor a family at http://www.lovingneighbors.net.

LovingNeighbors, a network of thirteen cross denominational church congregations has found a way to make a huge difference in the lives of homeless hurricane families. With the help of Sears and Kmart, they are equipping FEMA trailer families with complete Home Starter Kits.

“These kits are a fabulous idea because FEMA trailers lack the basic living necessities such as cooking utensils, linens and tools. People cannot even open a can of beans or make a cup of coffee, nor do they have sheets to sleep on,” said Sandy Molenhouse from International Aid. “We are hoping more communities follow their lead”. Home starter kits can be best described as a shrink wrapped bridal shower on a 4 x 4 pallet. They include dishes and glasses, silverware and utensils, pots and pans, bedding and towels, radios and tools, hair dryers, ice chests, chairs, toasters, coffee pots, cleaning materials and more.

“The hardest hit areas are very stark right now and people are still shell shocked,” said Moe Grzelakowski, the chairperson for LovingNeighbors. “People need hope right now and so we also wanted to give them something inspirational and assure them that God is present. When The Thomas Kinkade Company heard about the kits, they donated beautiful porcelain crosses with a picturesque chapel scene painted in the center and CrossWay Books donated Bibles for each family.”

The first kits are shipping to the town of Pearlington Mississippi, which was in the eye of the hurricane. “Pearlington called out to us,” said Verlee Copeland, one of LovingNeighbors’ leaders. “It is a working class town of 1,700 people which literally has nothing left. Because they were so hard hit and are traditionally an underserved community, they desperately need our help.”

In this recovery period, “The key to fulfilling our goals is the broad network of people and resources that the churches have created by working across denominations,” says Dick Ecker, the LovingNeighbors coordinator in Pearlington. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The LovingNeighbors network works. Getting these kits shipped and distributed is a big task. As needs down here arise, people back home respond, almost immediately. They are donating trucks, planes, tents, tools, generators, phones; you name it, whatever we need. It’s nothing short of amazing.”

LovingNeighbors is a volunteer organization which was founded to support victims of Hurricane Katrina. After sending three semi trailers of food and water to Hancock County, LovingNeighbors’ leaders decided to commit to a broader responsibility. Our communities wanted to work side by side with a needy families for the duration of their recovery and rebuilding process. With the help of International Aid, a LovingNeighbors team traveled to Hancock County where they witnessed the massive devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and recognized the need for the Kits. Generous families can sponsor a home starter kit for a hurricane family for $500 at http://www.lovingneighbors.net.

Participating Network Churches:

Christ Church of Oak Brook, Church of the Holy Nativity, Community Presbyterian Church,

Evangelical Covenant Church of Hinsdale, Grace Episcopal Church of Hinsdale,

Hinsdale Seventh Day Adventist, Hinsdale United Methodist, Notre Dame Church,

Oak Brook Community Church, Oak Community Church, St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church,

Trinity Presbyterian Church, The Union Church of Hinsdale

Contact: Moe Grzelakowski: lovingneighbors.net             (630) 370-4535


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Maureen Grzelakowski
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