East Biloxi Blitz Build - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

East Biloxi Blitz Build

College students from some of the nation's top universities are spending their holiday break on the Gulf Coast. More than 100 students from Michigan, Indiana and Purdue Universities are helping rebuild storm damaged homes. But students who came to Biloxi are taking on the task of revitalizing an entire street in East Biloxi.

Elmer Street is lined with families that have been here for many years, and every single home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Mrs. Eva Mae Tichell is back in her home thanks to volunteers. Now she is thankful that they are helping the rest of her neighbors get one step closer to moving back into their homes.

"I was ready to come out here and help them. I just can't sit and nobody working. I have to help," Tichell said.

Mark Jones is with Urban Life Missions Relief. He says Elmer Street is the street everyone forgot about. That's why ULM brought the eager group of students to South Mississippi to help.

"It might not seem like that much to us because we are out here cleaning up weeds and stuff, but to them, it makes the difference," said Lakyra Pharms, a student at Indiana University.

Her classmate, Clair Alvis, agrees.

"It's not just how do we improve our school? It's how do we improve the nation, how do we improve the neighboring states? Go all the way down to the Gulf Coast," Alvis said.

So, as long as volunteers like these students keep giving up their time to help, leaders say they will rebuild lives and create a lifetime of memories.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to leave them all with smiles on their faces. And have the folks that come down remember the people of Elmer Street, and have the people of Elmer Street remember the folks that came down," Mark Jones said.

Students will leave the Elmer Street neighborhood next Friday. However, leaders with ULM say they will send more volunteers to continue working in the neighborhood.

by Elise Roberts

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