Volunteers commit to helping rebuild after Katrina

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Meggan Gray – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Crews piecing together a home in Gulf Park Estates represent the very essence of what our volunteers have done through the years. Volunteers like Don Harris have given hope to people who were left with nothing following Katrina.

"First time I came down here, it just sort of touched me," Harris said.

He's been back 13 times working with Lutheran Episcopal Services and Camp Victor. But his mission and passion for helping others is in jeopardy.

"Got an e-mail about a month ago that said we're closing down the end of August because we don't have any funding left," explained Harris.

Chris Beninati is a construction manager for Camp Victor. He was crushed when he found out his work may be coming to an end just two days ahead of the fifth anniversary of Katrina.

"It makes me sad. And it bothers me that there are people out there that we still need to help. And the thought of not being able to continue our work, is just, to reach for another word - it just makes me sick to my stomach," Beninati said.

"I understand the funding is drying up, but the need is still here," pleaded Harris. "You can look around. You still see houses with blue tarps on the roof five years later."

Camp Victor has received funding to continue its mission through January, but Beninati knows that won't be enough.  He wants to continue to build homes for people, as long as there's a need.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to dedicate myself to the fundraising process to try to make sure that we secure enough funds to continue our mission. Whatever it takes."

Camp Victor leaders say in the past five years, more than 30,000 volunteers have come through and rehabbed nearly 2,000 homes.  If you'd like to help Camp Victor continue its mission, please call (228) 875-0313.

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