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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Giving our best

Lutherans continue to send funds, workers and hope to the Gulf Coast

Response to Hurricane Katrina brought out some of what is best in U.S. Lutherans, with the faithful from all walks of life helping to repair the Gulf Coast.

Jon Kurtz, 61, a member of North Riverdale,
Jon Kurtz, 61, a member of North Riverdale, pulls screws from studs at Jason Morgan’s Slidell home that was damaged by 8 feet of water. Volunteers spent most of their time rebuilding “mucked-out” homes, doing dry-walling, painting, electrical, plumbing, carpentry and roofing work.
Lutheran Disaster Response and ELCA Domestic Disaster Response report hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work and millions of dollars in aid pouring into the region, and the assistance shows no sign of letting up. Perhaps Joseph Hess’ T-shirt best sums up the sentiment emerging from this effort: “From Hurricane to Hope.”

Hess, pastor of Faith, Castle Rock, Colo., and 28 other volunteers from Faith, Holy Cross (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) and Holy Shepherd (Lakewood, Colo.) Lutheran churches wore the T-shirts while volunteering Jan. 26-31 through Camp Coast Care, an LDR site in Long Beach, Miss.

“That’s what we were trying to do, give folks who have lost everything hope,” Hess said. “Sometimes it’s just the little things—reaching out, touching somebody on the shoulder and asking how we can help—that means so much.”

It’s the big-picture effort as well. Consider:

• From July 2005 through January, volunteers gave more than 300,000 hours to LDR hurricane relief efforts from Florida through Texas, work that is worth about $5.5 million, said Michael Nevergall, associate for project interpretation for LDR, a ministry of the ELCA and Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

• People nationwide continue to take vacation time, leave-without-pay and alternative school breaks to volunteer through LDR. They “muck out” and rebuild damaged homes, trim and haul away yard waste and assist survivors at LDR relief sites.Lutherans send hope to the Gulf Coast.


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