Volume of Post-Katrina Volunteers Drying Up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volume of Post-Katrina Volunteers Drying Up

Scores of dinner chairs, 218 pillows, and several hallways are going unused at Camp Victor in Ocean Springs. Its only residents are the Kiepers from Wisconsin.

"I can see what this operation is set up to do, but it's hard to picture it, because there's no one around this week," Kathy Kieper said.  

It's difficult for Kieper to comprehend, and a constant struggle for camp manager Suzie Harvey to overcome.

"I had someone say that we are no longer news and actually it's boring to people. That people will turn off their TV if they hear about Katrina. I'm not sure how I can change the tide on that," Harvey said.

Harvey foresees six to eight years of rebuilding ahead for Jackson County. She struggles with telling 600 homeowners that there's not enough manpower to go around. 

"People are getting frustrated and desperate. They come in here in tears. They're at the end of their rope, because they're just tired of waiting," Harvey said.  

Every day the camp's 220 beds are empty, 15 to 20 homes in Jackson County will go untouched. That worries Harvey, because she says Camp Victor's mission is far from complete.

Until more volunteers arrive, work inside Camp Victor still must continue. They provide groceries every week to 100 local families.

The Kiepers vow to tell their friends that the need is still great. Harvey says that South Mississippi's future depends on it.

"We're going to make a difference one person at a time. The volunteers as a whole, the ones who have come before them and the ones that come after them are going to be what rebuilds the Coast," Harvey said.

Harvey says Camp Victor is especially looking for electricians and plumbers. She says 15 homes are ready to be lived in, but she's waiting on a plumber to volunteer at Camp Victor to help finish the job.

By Keli Rabon

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