AMAZON

Friday, September 09, 2005

A New Role

I have taken on a new role this afternoon: attempting to provide information to those churches will to assist the numerous Katrina refugees arriving in Louisville. It all began with this message:

Nick, __________ said that you were the person to whom I should send this charge! We need to communicate with the pastors, retired folks, active UCC people in the Louisville and southern Indiana area. And you know how to make those computers work!

As you know, Louisville and Lexington are planning for the arrival of evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi. The faith community heard about the planning and sort of "self-invited" themselves to the table. Therefore, the faith community now has a place in the process. I am hoping that concerned Christians in the UCC churches will respond to this call to help people feel welcome in Louisville.

I am including an explanation of the process that has been designed. I would appreciate it if you could send it on.

Last Saturday, I tried to e-mail most of the churches in the Louisville area about the collection center that has been set up at the Salvation Army Volunteer Center on Preston Street, just south of Ferndale. The list of materials was to be printed in the newspapers and information spread through the radio and TV stations. The Indiana-Kentucky Conference is part of the organization that has set this up (Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters); so I'm hoping our people will contribute as well as volunteer at the center. I was told on a conference call today that there were some UCC volunteers there this morning.

From what I can tell Bethlehem UCC does not have e-mail. If there is any other one who does not have an e-mail, maybe you can figure out how to get the info to them.

This is the e-mail that I got from ___________ this morning:

Times have changed at the Louisville Gardens. As of late this afternoon the schedule now is.
Friday 8am - 8pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday Closed
They will then assess the schedule for the coming week based on response and projected displaced residents.


Dear Interfaith community:

We have been here at the Louisville Gardens since 8am this morning. There are many truths that we are finding to be true in our hours here. We have seen many faces of those who have been displaced from the Gulf Coast. They have many needs, but here is something that we have come to realize about our participation. There
is a need for pastoral care, but it doesn't take place at “the table.” That care is taking place out in the middle of the room...those who are sitting in the bleachers and waiting in line to get onto a computer for the first time to contact FEMA, or to talk to a housing representative.

Here is how we need to immediately SPONSOR these families:
Most all these displaced families are being placed into housing within 48-72 hours after registering with the Housing Department. They need US to sponsor them by:

  1. HELP THEM PICK UP AND MOVE FURNITURE INTO THEIR NEW HOMES. The Coalition for the Homeless will receive the family's information and a checklist of furniture items. They will then contact either The Salvation Army, or Wayside Christian Mission. This checklist of furniture needs will be picked up at one of those sites. Churches listed on the Database will be contacted by the Coalition to find out availability and mobilized for delivery.

  1. At the same time, these families will need a Welcome Kit of items listed below delivered to their new home as well. This Welcome Kit is designed to get them started for at least a day or two. This activity needs to happen preferably prior to the furniture pick up but needs to take place as a complimentary piece of “Sponsorship.” Sponsoring churches are responsible to make up the Welcome Kits on their own.

There may be other ways to Sponsor families once this immediate need has passed, but we have been asked by the City of Louisville to fill this immediate need that cannot be met by any other entity.

Scenario:
Family Smith registers with the Metro Housing Dept. They will be assigned an
apartment at 123 Main St. 48 hours after initial registration. The Housing Dept. faxes the Apartment Checklist to Tonya at the Coalition for the Homeless. Tonya faxes Wayside Christian Mission with the checklist where they receive and begin processing the furniture and household needs. An approximate pickup time is scheduled. Tonya begins calling down the list of churches until she finds one (Church Love) that says, “Yes, we will sponsor that family and pick up their furniture and arrive at their home with the Welcome Basket.” Church Love mobilizes their volunteers into action and delivers the furniture and Welcome Basket to Family Smith at their new apartment. Those individuals also begin a relationship.

TO BE a SPONSORING CHURCH-- you must contact _______________ to be included on the list. Tell ___________how many families you can sponsor, you church name, contact name, phone number and email address. Calls from the Coalition for the Homeless will be random and need oriented. If you are not able to mobilize or respond in short order, you will be contacted again at a later time of need.

Again, this is the best way that we can assist families addressing immediate needs and allowing for natural contact. This plan has been derived over a 12-hour day
addressing the needs of those presented to us. And, is collaboration between volunteers from the Faith Community, the Metro Housing Department and the Coalition for the Homeless, partnering with the Salvation Army and Wayside
Christian Mission. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as this process is developing and changing as needs are changing.

SUGGESTED WELCOME KITS
9.8.05

1 PILLOWS FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
1 BLANKETS FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
1 PACK TOILET PAPER
1 WASH CLOTHE FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
1 TOWEL FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
1 BOX GARBAGE BAGS
1 PACK PAPER TOWELS
1 BOTTLE ALL PURPOSE CLEANER

I have been working on the dissemination of this and other information for some time how. Considering that I awoke this morning feeling rather useless, now that I am involved in something I consider important, I feel much more OK.

2 comments:

  1. It's gratifying to see individuals stepping up. I think people held back at first, thinking the government would take care of everything, but now they've given up on that idea and are doing things themselves.

    If I could make a small suggestion- ask people to bring in books and magazines. There's a church nearby that took in several hundred evacuees, and they are bored stiff. There's a television set, but in between meals they don't have anything to do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Thomas.

    I appreciate the idea regarding books and magazines; I have passed that on to our local coordinator.

    ReplyDelete