News Story

Ramping Up for Rita and Cleaning Up From Katrina

Semitrucks from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are already on the road with relief supplies headed to areas of Texas in anticipation of the wrath of Hurricane Rita this weekend. Meanwhile, bishops’ storehouses in the area are stocked and ready to respond to the immediate needs of residents in the wake of the storm. A command center is being set up and local members are preparing to spring into action to help repair expected damage.

They will follow a pattern already set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast, where thousands of Church volunteers from throughout the region have spent their weekends helping those who can’t help themselves.

Volunteers are now fighting Mother Nature on two fronts — ramping up for Rita and cleaning up from Katrina. While keeping people safe and accessing damage is the top priority in Texas, getting people back in their homes is the focus of work in Mississippi and Louisiana.

For many Hurricane Katrina victims who have been without power and suitable water, returning after several days may mean facing the indescribable: rotten food, moldy walls and cherished possessions destroyed.

Volunteers from the Church, who have been working alongside government agencies and other service organizations on the ground in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, are trying to make this task just a little easier by bringing in thousands of home-cleaning kits.

On Friday and Saturday, more than 150 Atlanta metro-area members will put together 10,000 cleaning kits at the Church’s storehouse based in Tucker, Georgia. Another 10,000 kits will be assembled and shipped on 30 September and 1 October.

In addition to the home-cleaning kits being donated in Atlanta, 20,000 more are being assembled in Orlando, Florida.

Each of the kits will include one gallon of bleach, a 13-ounce bottle of disinfectant dish soap, two pairs of heavy latex gloves, two stiff scrub brushes, three medium sponges, a box of heavy duty trash bags, a spray bottle, a measuring cup and some rags.

These supplies will be sent immediately via semitruck to several locations along the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, Slidell, Waveland, Pascagoula, Biloxi and Gulfport, where they will be distributed at the Church’s shelters. Many will be donated to other agencies, such as the American Red Cross, that have made requests for them.

The cleaning kits are just a small link in a long chain of service and aid that has been rendered by the Church in the Gulf Coast region.

Since Katrina hit, workers at the Church’s storehouse in Tucker, just one of many staging areas for the relief effort, have been working 16-hour days to keep up the delivery and processing of tons of needed supplies, food and equipment.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have also been working since immediately after Katrina delivered her devastating blow to help with both immediate and long-term problems facing the area.

More than 8,000 members from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas have volunteered in hard-hit areas over the last two weeks to clear trees and debris, clean up trash and start reconstruction on roofs and homes. That effort will continue well into the rest of year as the need remains.

So far, more than 17,402 man days of service have been rendered, 7,097 work orders have been filled and more than 6,283 families have been served by these volunteers.

In addition, hundreds of truckloads of supplies of food, emergency supplies and rebuilding materials have come from the Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City.


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