Interfaith Task Force Plans For Next Volunteers

The Interfaith Task Force discussed partnership opportunities between organizations. Members talked about housing needs for the volunteers who come down here to get the coast back on its feet. And they went over better ways to coordinate hurricane repair projects. The summit produced one undeniable fact -- the work has just begun.

Jose Lopez donned a purple shirt with the "Project Teamwork" logo emblazoned across his chest. Lopez grabbed a hammer and removed the wood frame from a recently poured foundation.

"There is no better feeling you can get within yourself when you help," the California man said.

And help is what the men from Project Teamwork brought from Ventura County, California to a hurricane damaged property in Gulfport. Volunteers like Lopez are spending a week rebuilding a home on Wisconsin Avenue.

"That's what we want to do, do whatever we can to help the people," he said.

In a church sanctuary a few miles from Wisconsin Avenue, Roberta Avila led a summit hosted by the Mississippi Coast Interfaith Task Force.

"This disaster has brought down an unprecedented number of volunteers. And volunteers are still coming," Avila said.

The summit was set up to map out a strategy for those volunteers. Non-profit and faith based groups came up with a way to make sure volunteers know exactly where to go to find the supplies, the tools, and the rebuilding projects that support south Mississippi's long term recovery.

"What we want to do is we want to coordinate the work that needs to be done to ensure that we're able to expedite the work for those that are most in need in our community," said Avila.

The goal of the interfaith task force is to make sure homes are rebuilt. It's a long term recovery process that will ultimately reward the homeowner.

In the short term, it's the volunteers who benefit so much from this labor of love.

"You can't describe it," Lopez said, in between slings of his hammer. "You can't describe the feeling you get inside when you see somebody come to you and say thank you for helping a little bit for whatever we get to do."