Another volunteer group leaves Hancock Co. - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Another volunteer group leaves Hancock Co.

By Al Showers - bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - CityTeam Ministries closed its hurricane relief operation in Bay St.Louis Wednesday, after three and a half years of service to the storm battered area.

The volunteer organization arrived on the Coast two weeks after Katrina struck and has bought thousands of volunteers to town to help build homes.

Nola Kingston is one of more than 250 people who received help from CityTeam volunteers in getting back into a home. In Kingston's case, they restored a house she had lived in for 60 years.

"I have a special, special place in my heart for CityTeam," the Bay St. Louis resident said. "People that came to help me, and God knows it was a lot of them."

CityTeam's volunteer camp is being forced to close due, in part, to the poor economy.

Curt Merriam with CityTeam Ministries said, "They're attempting to go over to Galveston, not on the scale that they've done it here, but it's just kind of hard to be in two places at once. And those are the new places that get the attention, so there's more funding, which enables them to do more work. Not that they don't want to be here, but it's harder to find funding to continue."

CityTeam has played a major role in the recovery of Hancock County. In the days following the storm, its distribution center fed, clothed and provided supplies for 1,500 families a week. They brought in more than 2,000 volunteers to help gut and rebuild houses. The organization also started social programs and events to get families out of their FEMA trailers.

"We really wanted to be able to provide a gathering place and a therapeutic element that would help children by doing arts and crafts and things like that," Crystal Merriam said.

Crystal and Curtis Merriam have spent the past 16 months running the volunteer camp.

"There are so many people who have blessed us and really welcomed us into their homes and their lives, so it's really hard to leave them, but Wyoming is home. It's been a wonderful experience Southern Hospitality has definitely taught us a lot," Curtis Merriam said.

"It's really bittersweet because so many people really took us in and now you're making me cry, and you're not even Oprah," Crystal said with a tears in her eyes. "Home is where your heart is and we're going to leave a part of our hearts in Mississippi."

At least one of the programs started by CityTeam will live on even after the relief site is closed. The Creative Kids arts program will continue to be held every second Saturday from 1pm to 3pm at the Hancock County Library's Annex building.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Two people escape from burning Saucier home

    Two people escape from burning Saucier home

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 8:06 AM EDT2017-07-26 12:06:14 GMT
    An overnight fire burns down a home in Saucier. Two people escaped but need to be taken to the hospital (Photo Source: Pat Sullivan)An overnight fire burns down a home in Saucier. Two people escaped but need to be taken to the hospital (Photo Source: Pat Sullivan)

    Two people ran from the burning home in the Saucier community overnight. First responders say the duo was inside the burning building long enough to breathe in too much smoke. AMR rushed both people to the hospital so they could be treated for smoke inhalation. By the time fire trucks arrived, flames and smoke could be seen pouring out of the entire home. The trailer was a total loss. Sullivan says the home did not have working smoke alarms.

    More >>

    Two people ran from the burning home in the Saucier community overnight. First responders say the duo was inside the burning building long enough to breathe in too much smoke. AMR rushed both people to the hospital so they could be treated for smoke inhalation. By the time fire trucks arrived, flames and smoke could be seen pouring out of the entire home. The trailer was a total loss. Sullivan says the home did not have working smoke alarms.

    More >>
  • Young women explore engineering careers through BEST summer camp

    Young women explore engineering careers through BEST summer camp

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 7:01 PM EDT2017-07-25 23:01:43 GMT
    The girls used their collective brain power to build mini roller coasters, while learning about kinetic energy. (Photo source: WLOX)The girls used their collective brain power to build mini roller coasters, while learning about kinetic energy. (Photo source: WLOX)

    They are the next generation of engineers and scientists. About 20 girls, ages 11 to 14, are learning about non-traditional career fields for women.

    More >>

    They are the next generation of engineers and scientists. About 20 girls, ages 11 to 14, are learning about non-traditional career fields for women.

    More >>
  • City leaders from around MS are on the coast

    City leaders from around MS are on the coast

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 4:42 PM EDT2017-07-25 20:42:15 GMT
    The state's Municipal League represents 295 cities, towns, and villages. (Photo source: WLOX)The state's Municipal League represents 295 cities, towns, and villages. (Photo source: WLOX)

    City leaders from every corner of the state have converged on the coast for the 86th annual Mississippi Municipal League Convention.

    More >>

    City leaders from every corner of the state have converged on the coast for the 86th annual Mississippi Municipal League Convention.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly