Volunteers Needed To Distribute Donated Supplies - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/13/05

Volunteers Needed To Distribute Donated Supplies

An extreme shortage of volunteers is slowing relief efforts in Harrison County. The county's volunteer coordinator Scott Lewis says some distribution sites have been scaled back because of lack of man power. He also says in the past few days three volunteers have passed out and been hospitalized from being overworked.

The work is hard and the hours are long, but Austin Mattison couldn't be happier. He's among 30 Scientologists from around the country who, for the past week, have been helping out at a distribution site in Gulfport.

"I came out here because I knew I had to do something about this hurricane," said Mattison. "I felt if I came out and helped, it would do a lot."

Soon after the Hurricane, Leon Sootin started volunteering in a shelter in his Gulfport neighborhood. Now he's venturing out.

"There's areas out in Bay St. Louis and Delisle that need these supplies and need help, so I'm loading my car going up to the shelter and trying to bring them what they need," said Sootin.

People who want to lend a hand in Harrison County are being asked to first go to the Volunteer Command Center on the grounds of Harrison Central High School. Officials say so far about 500 people have come through the doors. The volunteers come from the local area and far away places like Mexico City, South America and London.

With some volunteers working 10 days straight, there is worry that without new volunteers stepping forward, there won't be anyone to relieve the relief workers.

"It comes from the heart, not from the head. And the idea is these people need help and I have the ability to help, so I'm doing it," said Sootin

Mattison said there is plenty of work to go around.

"I would definitely like to see a lot more people out here."

Officials say efforts to take food and supplies to Harrison County's outlying areas have also been hurt by the lack of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please call 228-832-6653.

by Danielle Thomas

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