Episcopals Bring Disaster Relief To Area Ministries

"I don't see a bad day today. This is a sunshiny day, this is not a rainy day," said Joe Steinwinder, with a big smile on his face and one hand on an oversized check.

Dreary weather didn't dampen the upbeat spirit as a grateful Steinwinder accepted a check from Episcopal Bishop Duncan Gray.

Hurricane Katrina left the soup kitchen's former facilities a mess, as the storm destroyed the Gaston Hewes Recreation Center. Money from the Episcopals brings the Gulfport ministry a step closer to building a brand new building at a slab on nearby 19th Street.

"You've taught us exactly what missions is all about. And you've taught us a lesson that charity begins at home," said Steinwinder.

Bishop Duncan Gray presented the grant, which comes from Episcopal Relief and Development.

"We'll be forever indebted to the hundreds of thousands of people who have sent donations, small and large, into Episcopal Relief and Development," said Gray.

The generosity of the Episcopals reaches beyond helping the Gulfport soup kitchen. The bishop also presented sizable checks to St. Johns Episcopal Church in Pascagoula to support its ongoing "sheetrock" ministry, and to Coast Episcopal School in Long Beach to help expand its pre-school program.

Richard Ohlsen is with the New York office of Episcopal Relief and Development.

"We're here to make sure that the people are taken care of. That the community rebuilds. And those that are less fortunate are also taken care of and remembered during this whole recovery process," said Ohlsen.

Feed My Sheep is a big step, big check closer to breaking ground.

"I would like to see a ground breaking within four months. And I don't think that is being overly optimistic. I think we can do it," said Steinwinder.