Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brethren Disaster Ministries takes part in ecumenical ‘blitz build.’

Brethren Disaster Ministries is taking part in an ecumenical "blitz build" in New Orleans on April 20-May 16. The project is in partnership with Church World Service (CWS) and nine other denominations, to build and repair a minimum of 12 homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in the Little Woods neighborhood of New Orleans.

A grant of $25,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund has been given to the project. The money will help purchase building materials, tools, and supplies, and will help provide volunteer housing, meals, and additional travel expenses.

In addition, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff reported that the program has taken a lead in the project by helping to lay the groundwork for the event. "Brethren Disaster Ministries has taken one of the lead roles by committing additional staff and volunteer time to prepare homes prior to the blitz and taking on additional responsibilities and management during the blitz," reported associate director Zach Wolgemuth in the grant request for the project.

More than three years after Hurricane Katrina hit the northern Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, "public awareness has diminished leaving thousands of residents frustrated and unable to return to their homes as countless agencies have terminated their recovery efforts," said the grant request.

"Yet amidst this humbling reality, the work of the faith community’s response in the greater New Orleans area demonstrates the effectiveness of even small efforts as single homes are repaired, prompting others to do the same," the request continued. "That is why Brethren Disaster Ministries has joined with CWS and nine of its member denominations and partners in rebuilding a single neighborhood: Little Woods, in eastern New Orleans."

Little Woods was selected because of its diversity, lack of prior attention, the size of its homes (1,200-1,400 square feet), its ability to host volunteer teams, and the potential for the ecumenical community to make a large impact. Throughout this effort, each denominational partner has been asked to contribute financially to the project and provide at least 15 volunteers a week. Volunteer teams will work weekly from April 20 through May 16 in order to repair a minimum of 12 homes in the community.

In other news from Brethren Disaster Ministries, two other rebuilding projects continue, in Johnson County, Ind., following flooding last spring, and in Chalmette, La., continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina. A project in Rushford, Minn., is about to be closed. "The final house is almost complete!" reported Jane Yount, Brethren Disaster Ministries coordinator.

Source: 2/12/2009 Newsline Extra

No comments: