Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Live from Pearlington - April 11, 2006

Resource meeting Need - that's what this is all about.

Late Monday I was approached by Jill Lackey and her daughter Madison, two volunteers from Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC. While assisting with the needs survey, they came across a family with an 8-year-old special-needs child whose wheelchair had been lost in the storm. By noon yesterday, Alexis had a new one and a care package filled with appropriate toys from Laurie at the Pearl*Mart. She was particularly fascinated with the little jewellery box I gave her, that popped open to reveal a spinning ballerina tinkling a little song. A small thing, perhaps, but not to Alexis....

Yesterday, I had lunch at Reverend Rawl's First Missionary Baptist Church. It has a rich history dating back to 1869 and the lunch served was one of the finest examples of southern cooking yet. Jacqueline Acker, who was there alone that day - "But I'm ready!" - had prepared a delightful buffet of red beans and rice with ham hock, ribs, potatoes and snap beans, peach cobbler, salad, fresh rolls and a host of trimmings. I arrived close to 11:30 and by the time I left 20 minutes later, she had served 63 people. Later, Jackie told me she did it as therapy; she could no longer sit in her little trailer and do nothing but grieve. She got herself up and has made an enormous contribution to the volunteer community, recognizing what those volunteers were doing for her town. I left her a good donation for my lunch, used to purchase the fresh items not available through the Pearl*Mart.

If you eat there, please do the same. This stuff has gotta keep keepin' on!

I received a call from Tom Dalessandri from Carbondale, CO yesterday. He is in desperate need of a qualified electrician to repair some stuff at a home in Pearlington, in preparation of their next trip here to finish some work that needs doing. He can't find one at home able to journey here in time. If you can help very soon, please contact me and I will facilitate the job. He also needs a sheetrock finisher to tape, mud and sand another home before the 18th, so his people can come when they arrive to do the painting. Again, please contact me.

Conrad Velasco - the 'Shed Man' - and a team from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, assisted by a team of seven from Walton County, FL are busy building resident Vicki Netto a small new home. She is delighted for this unsolicited hand up, but - as I suspected - has come under a certain amount of fire from some other local residents for the volunteers' generosity. For those Pearlington folks who read this, please know that we are here for the long haul and we will help all of you in your turn. Have Faith and give us time to get to you. Like Katrina herself, we make no distinctions between people and know you are all in need. Sometimes our donors direct their funds to specific projects of their own choosing and we must abide by that. We'll get to you. As volunteers dependent upon donations, we cannot of course, promise anything - except our assurance that we will always do what we can to help.

Help yourselves as much as you can in the meantime and try to be patient. We care about you ALL.

The new laundromat is progressing well and will hold five washers and dryers. Jake Earle has obtained the materials to bring the building housing the new kitchen up to Health Department code and will be installing them today. Then we will truly be up and running. Thanks Jake! I know how much of your time and personal money you have given to this effort and we applaud you!

Once again, let's work these miracles and get the job done. That's what we're all about. Yah!

Canada Jon


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