Biloxi Church Holds Meeting to Help Hispanic Community

Imagine moving to a foreign country and trying to get used to its culture and ways. That's  the situation that thousands of Hispanics are in since the storm, but a local church is reaching out to members of this community to help them adapt.

The Hispanic population in South Mississippi has boomed since Katrina as they've helped South Mississippi rebuild. But fitting in and understanding a new culture has its challenges. That's why the Hispanic Latino ministries has begun holding monthly meetings at Beauvoir United Methodist Church.

"Each month on the last Sunday of the month, we have a community empowerment meeting for the Latino community, in which we try to discuss some topic of interest to the community, to help them fit better into the community, how to live here, and get along," said Mary Townsend of Hispanic Latino Ministries.

The meetings are held in Spanish. Hurricane preparedness was the topic at this Sunday's meeting.

"It's very important, exactly like you said, they have not been here during a hurricane, they may have experienced something similar in their own country, but not here, and we really want them to know where they can go, what radio stations, which television stations, they need to be turning on and listening to, and they need to start preparedness because they may not be familiar with the area," said Lorena Diaz, a Community Recovery Specialist for the American Red Cross.

Past meetings have included possible immigration reform and tax preparation. Next month, the assistant chief of the Biloxi Police Department will be on hand to talk about community relations and the law.

The meetings are open to the public, and are held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on the last Sunday of every month at Beauvoir United Methodist Church.