Shelter efforts will require long-term volunteer efforts

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 12, 2005

Hundreds of compassionate, giving individuals have marvelouslysustained hurricane relief efforts at area shelters in recentdays.

Along with staff and volunteer workers from the American RedCross and other organizations from both within the area and beyond,these local residents have gone above and beyond the call of dutyto meet the needs of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. They areproviding these displaced Americans with roofs over their heads,nutritious meals and even a shoulder for them to cry on from timeto time.

As in the aftermath of past disasters, these volunteers are anessential part of easing human suffering, whether emotional,physical or both. But unlike past disasters, Hurricane Katrinapresents an ongoing challenge with no end in sight. This time, somany evacuees cannot yet return home – if they even have homes toreturn to.

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Providing relief to victims of this storm is a long-rangeundertaking that will require ongoing volunteer efforts for weeksand months to come.

With this in mind, every area resident should consider what heor she can do to help. The American Red Cross still is operatingsix shelters at Lincoln County churches, and there are several morein surrounding counties. Each shelter needs volunteers to helpcook, clean, keep the facilities safe and secure and provide forother needs of the displaced adults and children staying there.

Giving a little time would go a long way in making our temporaryneighbors feel at home.