Volunteer Leaders Say More Help Needed For Long-Term Recovery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteer Leaders Say More Help Needed For Long-Term Recovery

Nearly 30 volunteer organizations from across the state met Thursday at the Gulf Hills Resort in Ocean Springs to work toward long-term recovery solutions.

Chairman Donald E. Powell, the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, addressed where the government fell short after Katrina.  But he also applauded the volunteers and organizations who stepped in to help.

"The one thing I don't question is the volunteers who made this thing better than it was."

But some volunteer leaders say improving lives on the Gulf Coast is becoming increasingly difficult. 

Jerilyn DuFresne, the state coordinator for Lutheran Disaster Response said getting the funding to support case workers is becoming harder to find. She said her workers play a major part in helping other groups determine the resources and volunteer power needed to help South Mississippians.

"I hope that he heard us when we talked about the case management crisis," DuFresne said.

Jackson County Civil Defense Director Butch Loper discussed problems he had getting volunteers what they needed.

"We had resources, but they wouldn't allow me to use it for the volunteers - water, ice and MREs, things of that nature. We do need something to be put into place legally," Loper said.

Jay Huffstatler, the event coordinator, said he realizes it will take more than talking to get things done, but that meeting with Powell was a great starting point.

"We're pleased he was able to hear the voices of these hard workers in Mississippi, so he can go back to Washington and advocate on behalf of the hard work they're doing. Hopefully, we can get some more legislation and funding down here on the ground." 

By: Krystal Allan

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