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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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September 2, 2005

The feeding of the 25,000

That's the necessary miracle that we're called to participate in right now as we share our loaves and fishes—and money—to feed the Katrina refugees who will be living in the Houston Astrodome this month.

The Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston has begun serving three meals every day to the people in this baseball park, which has become a city of its own as bus loads of New Orleans residents begin to arrive. The population is expected to total 25,000. The cost to feed these people is projected at $4.5 million for September. And 240 volunteers are needed for each meal shift.

Monica Perin, long-time contributor to The Lutheran and Houston area resident, just learned this morning that the local ELCA synod (Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast) will partner with the local Episcopalians to serve the meals during the last week of September. All interested in being trained to help can call the synod office 281-875-4716 or e-mail office@gulfocastsynod.org.

Synod congregations are collecting funds, of course, but all in the ELCA have a way to contribute by making donations to Lutheran Disaster Relief. Call 800-683-3522 to give by credit card or go to www.elca.org/giving.

Monica's first e-mail was waiting in my in box when I got to work Wednesday morning: "Do you want me to do any reporting on the aftermath of Katrina down here? Houston has become a major staging area for the recovery efforts as well as hosting thousands of refugees."  That was news to us in Chicago—just two days ago, seems so much longer.

Since then she's talked with pastors from our New Orleans churches who are staying in Houston and will be going to the Astrodome—looking for their members and for all who need to tell their stories, to weep, to rage and to pray.  Watch for her reports on our web site and also in our Tuesday e-newsletter, which you can subscribe for free right on our home page.

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