In 2007 many volunteer groups said goodbye to South Mississippi. Many were forced to leave without finishing all the projects they had started. Now a lot of that overflow work is going to the Gulf Coast Baptist Association.
God's Katrina Kitchen, YouthBuild and The North Carolina Baptist Association. Those are just a few of the volunteer groups that said good-bye to South Mississippi last year. Now the Gulf Coast Baptist Association is taking on some of those un-finished projects.
"It kind of blew in on us and we did the best that we could to minister in the best ways we could identify," said Steve Mooneyham, the Executive Director of the organization.
Mooneyham says the work the group was doing after the storm is a lot different from the work it will do in 2008.
"We did a lot of initial response with mud out and fixing homes and transitioned from there into repairing homes and we've done another transition that will focus on rebuilding," Mooneyham said.
With a decrease in volunteers, leaders like David Baldwin say moving forward is difficult.
"There is definitely a drop off. You look at the volume of people in North Carolina brought in, the numbers have dropped off," Baldwin said.
Right now there are only 4,000 volunteers signed up for 2008. That's the lowest number since Katrina and it's not enough manpower to help the organization meet its goals for the new year.
"When you spread it out over 12 months, it's adequate but we've got to have a lot more volunteers if we are going to accomplish our goal of 30 new homes and continue to re-work the homes that were destroyed," Baldwin said.
However, leaders are confident that number will grow and now they're trying to recruit skilled laborers to lead volunteers, that way they can move even more families back into their homes over the next 12 months.
If you are a skilled worker and would like to volunteer this year with the Gulf Coast Baptist Association, you can call 228-832-4311.