This week about two dozen AmeriCorps volunteers arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. For the next eight weeks, they'll be teaming up with Hands On Gulf Coast to build and repair damaged homes. However, on Friday, the two volunteer groups set out on a different kind of community service to say Happy Mother's Day to some very special ladies.
It was a small gesture that deeply touched Ethel Curry's heart. People she didn't even know stopped by her FEMA trailer to say Happy Mother's Day.
"This is a great surprise and a blessing. I really do appreciate this because I didn't expect it," Curry said.
Bearing flowers and hand-made cards, Americorps and Hands On Volunteers spent much of Friday delivering smiles.
"It's been good because I spend most of my time in the tool shed back on base," said volunteer Salem Jones. "I don't get around in the community a lot so today being out here, giving these gifts to these ladies, it was really nice."
More than 60 potted plants went to senior citizens living in East Biloxi. Volunteers wanted to also give their time.
Hands On's operations assistant Sue Cole said, "People are very appreciative, and they're just lonely. I tell the crew that I didn't want them to just hand them a flower and walk out the door. I wanted them to visit with these people and get to know them and get a relationship with the community."
The Mother's Day treats are just a small part of the gifts these volunteers are giving to people like Ethel Curry. They are repairing her home and many others in this area.
"The volunteers are awesome," said Curry. "They are just like family now. They have taken such a great pride in their work and they spend a lot of time with my two little nephews, and I look forward to seeing them everyday."
During their stay, Americorps volunteers say they will also tutor children, do mold removal, and work at the Hands On headquarters in Biloxi.