The Lutheran Disaster Response Team Setting Up Residence In Ocean Springs

9 months after Katrina, the Lutheran Disaster Response team is still handing out food and supplies to those in need. New shipments come in almost everyday.

Director Amy Bearson says the distribution won't stop anytime soon.

"There is still a need for food and for assistance here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Bearson says.

To meet those needs, the organization is in the process of building its long-term help center.

Warehouse Director Alex Lundy says, "This is going to be one of our dormatories where our volunteers are going to sleep."

Lundy says when all of the work is done, they'll be able to comfortably room 250 volunteers.

"We've designed our own bunkbeds, and we are assembling them," Lundy says.

There is going to be a large cafeteria and common room.

Lundy says, "Everybody's going to eat here."

Having the space to accomodate hundreds of helping hands will give the team the manpower to start rebuilding the community instead of just helping it clean up.

Lundy says, "Now we're actually getting to where we will rebuild the houses. Sheetrocking, roofing, plumbing, electrical, whatever needs to be done to help the victims of Katrina."

Bearson says, "We have 300 cases of people waiting to get help."

It surprises some people that the Lutheran Disaster Response Team is still helping out. Bearson says, get used to it, because they're usually the last to leave a disaster.

"After Hurricane Allison in Texas, they just pulled out this last October, 2005, and had finished the last house," Bearson says.

Right now the volunteers are staying at the Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Ocean Springs.

Lundy says all of the improvements should be complete by June 1st. The team expects to be in South Mississippi for 8 to 10 years.