Relief Group Helping Bring More Volunteers To Bay St. Louis - - The News for South Mississippi

Relief Group Helping Bring More Volunteers To Bay St. Louis

Several relief groups in Hancock County are pulling up stakes for one reason or another. Some groups have completed their work. Others no longer have places to base their operations.

But CityTeam Disaster Relief Ministries is gearing up to house more volunteers than ever before. Their goal is to meet the needs of a rebuilding community.

Three new tent-covered bunkhouses will soon help CityTeams house more out of state volunteers in Bay St. Louis.

"One of the things we're looking at doing is collaborating with several organizations over the coming months. Good volunteer housing is tough to come by, so these units that were donated to us will be able to house at least 20 additional people," team leader Bonnie Ringdahl said.

The new quarters are an upgrade from tents and sleeping bags. The bunkhouses will have A/C, heat and beds with mattresses.

CityTeam representative Diana Fillhart said, "Having a comfortable place where people can rest at night to sleep is really important to help us secure volunteers so we can continue what we're doing."

A new tool shed is also going up.

"Our donors that give us money, they're counting on us to keep security. So that's why we're building a larger shed so we can actually consolidate all of our tools and equipment into one location," Ringdahl said.

CityTeam Ministries is based in San Jose' California. The organization arrived in Bay St. Louis three days after Hurricane Katrina. Their mission has evolved with the community over the last year.

"Probably a good 18,000 people we've helped through our food distribution program. Through our rebuilding efforts, we've helped well over a 100 families."

The hope is to be able to help thousands more storm victims.

"Based on finances, based on the need of the community, based on the openness of Bay St. Louis wanting to continue to have us here. As long as that door stays open and as long as CityTeam is able to financially maintain itself, I think they'll stay commented to the area."

CityTeam Ministries is located in the McDonald Ball Field on Dunbar Avenue in Bay St. Louis. In addition to helping to rebuild homes, the organization also hold AA meetings for residents every Thursday night at 7pm.

by Al Showers 

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