Retirement Home Furniture Donated To Katrina Victims - - The News for South Mississippi

Retirement Home Furniture Donated To Katrina Victims

"Yeah. Let's go," a volunteer shouted as she looked at the huge piles of furniture.

The mattresses may be heavy and the dressers are old, but the used furnishings mean so much to the volunteers with the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.

"We're excited," said Anne Hale, the Donations Coordinator for the Diocese Office of Long Term Recovery. "This is our first huge donation we've had like this. We've been able to get furniture out to so many people and so many homes and put people's lives back together."

The solid-wood tables, chairs, and bed frames once belonged to the hundreds of residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport. Those heroes are scattered across the country now, after their building flooded in Katrina.

"So many of them just said 'I don't want it.  Make sure that it is donated, and make sure that it is given away' and we're doing that," said AFRH Deputy Director Robert Locke.

Once all the furniture is moved out, the federal government will come in to see what else it can salvage and recycle.  Eventually, the 11-story building will have to come down.

"This home is 30 years old, and the furniture, so much of it goes back to that period of time," said Locke. "It's furniture that we really did not want to see brought down when the home does come down, and it will. It will be imploded."

When a new retirement complex goes up to replace the tower, the residents can come home to bigger quarters, more modern facilities, and of course, new furnishings.  And thanks to their generous donations, many families in South Mississippi will also get a fresh start.

"There are families that actually appreciate the fact of where it's coming from," said Anne Hale. "It's going through possessions that meant a lot to somebody.  And it's just part of history and now, it will go to the Katrina victims and heroes."

The GSA is currently designing the new retirement complex in Gulfport. Congress has already set aside $220 million for the project. The goal is to bring the residents home by the year 2010.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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