Local Church Teams Up With Mardi Gras Crew To Help Midwest

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

ESCATAWPA, MS (WLOX) - "It reminded me a lot of Katrina, looking at the devastation," said Safe Harbor Methodist Church member Twila Canfield, "the walls shut down to the studs and the water and stuff. It reminded me a lot of Katrina."

Canfield hoped she would never see Katrina-like devastation ever again.  She did, when she and ten other church members spent a week in Iowa City, Iowa.  The region was severely damaged earlier this summer in massive floods.

Safe Harbor Methodist Church sent a group to help Parkview Methodist Church, which helped them after Katrina.  The group ran electrical wires, painted and restored a playground during their week there. They also brought forteen flood buckets and thousands of dollars in donations.

"We're just so glad that we could go and return the favor," said participant Jimmy Hughes, "with all the help that was given to this church and the members of this church's houses."

Pastor Tom Potter said he believes its important for Mississippians to help Iowa because so many Iowans volunteered to help South Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. This trip may have been the first to Iowa City, but he believes it will not be the last.

"We've had so many people from Iowa in particular that have come to the coast to work after Katrina," said Potter, "but from what I could tell we were the first trip from Mississippi back to Iowa in their time of need."

They brought more supplies than even they had anticipated. Not only did they bring their own donations, they brought a trailer full of materials collected from the North Bay Mardi Gras Association. North Bay had been collecting supplies independently and asked the church to deliver them to Iowa. The heavy load was well-received.

"The response that we got was tremendous," Potter said, "They were so appreciative, extremely gracious and generous, and it was an extremely moving experience for everyone involved."

North Bay Mardi Gras Association is planning another project to collect more necessities for the midwest. Safe Harbor Methodist Church also plans to continue giving.

"You just get so much out of it," Hughes said, "You go hoping to bless others, and you get way more blessings that you could ever give."