As you've probably picked up from media reports, there is still a lot to be done in Louisiana (and Mississippi) to aid the region in its recovery from Katrina. In addition to the remaining need still for massive cleanup and rebuilding all through the region, there is now additional concern for increasing depression and more suicides.
KatrinaGrace is planning to continue to partner with Trinity Church in Covington, LA in reaching out to Katrina Survivors in the area for many months to come.
This past Sunday, the KatrinaGrace Leadership Team met to establish focuses for 2006. Here are some of our plans for the next several months. And some of this will likely change:
- On Saturday 17 December, Beth Shields and Jen Long, two members of the Leadership Team are flying to Covington, LA to meet with Michael Sprague, Trinity's Senior Pastor, Mark Lewis, who coordinate's Trinity's Katrina Relief Efforts, and Jim Warren, who is taking a leadership role in Trinity's efforts to aid the community in rebuilding. The meeting is to discuss how KatrinaGrace and Trinity might most effectively partner to serve the community in the coming months. Michael has also asked Beth and Jen to speak to the church on Sunday and then they're flying back.
- Because of your generous giving for Katrina relief, KatrinaGrace will also be providing Trinity with several thousands of dollars worth of Christmas Gift Cards to be distributed to Katrina Survivors. What's really cool is that independently of us, Trinity had already decided to do the same thing themselves. There's enormous need in the area and this will only be a drop in the bucket.
- In addition to the small planning trip mentioned above, and participating in the Forcey trips mentioned yesterday, KatrinaGrace plans to sponsor at least four trips in 2006 to Covington, LA in Feb, May, August and November to work with Trinity in cleanup, rebuilding, social work, etc. The plan is to use donated frequent flyer miles and rent trucks in the area once we arrive. Beth Shields will be coordinating these trips and establishing team leaders, so if you're interested in participating in any of these, please email her.
- In October, KatrinaGrace decided to directly support Trinity's Katrina Relief efforts with $1000 monthly payments through March of 2006. This past Sunday, the Leadership Team decided to extend those payments through September of 2006.
- One of the focuses in 2006 that we are most excited about is the KatrinaZone Family Adoption Initiative, that will be led by Johnny and Jen Long. Michael Sprague of Trinity loved this idea when we recently shared it with him and this is one of the items on the agenda for further planning when Jen and Beth fly down in a couple of weeks.
The idea is that Grace individuals and families get personally involved with one particular Katrina surviving family in Trinity's community. They can exchange letters, assistance, advice, money, fellowship, friendship, whatever. KatrinaGrace allocated $3000 for this but we are also encouraging folks to establish their own monthly amounts, giving thru Grace (which makes it tax-deductable) and with the entire amount going to the selected family.
- We haven't gotten as involved with Katrina Survivors who have ended up in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor as much as we originally hoped. It seems that most of them have connected with family and friends and have flown under the radar. Nevertheless, we've earmarked $3000 for supporting these kinds of folks as they hit our radar screen. If you learn of particular cases that could use our assistance, please email Stephen Shields.
- A KatrinaGrace Community Event. Not sure what this looks like yet but we've a lot of pictures and some video and - more importantly - some good stories. We are seeking the best forum in which to share these with whoever is interested.
So this site will be the best place to learn about how all this unfolds and to discover where you might fit in!
Possible Action Steps
If you have any frequent-flyer miles that you'd like to donate, please email Stephen Shields.
If you are interested in going on any of the KatrinaGrace trips, pls email Beth Shields.
If you'd like to go on any of the Forcey Trips, email John Heater.
If you'd like to adopt a Katrina Survivor Family, email either Johnny Long or Jen Long.
If you'd like to contribute financially to any of these initiatives, just give a check to Grace Community Church and designate it for "KatrinaGrace."
More to come.