The Church has found another way to aid those who lost homes in Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina struck this fall.
Church members from nine stakes in Atlanta, Ga., will start packing 70,000 kitchen sets Nov. 2 that will be placed in temporary housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The kitchen sets include a pan set, flatware, plates, utensils, a dish drain and more. It will take 62 semi-truck loads to move them from Georgia, where they are being assembled in a vendor's warehouse, to Louisiana.
"We have had a number of people talk about what the Church can and will do and is becoming known for that is extending a helping hand," said Elder Clark Anderson, who with his wife, Mary, serves as an area welfare specialist and is coordinating the project.
The Andersons spent many weeks after the Hurricane Katrina, and then Rita, working at the Slidell, La., Bishops' Storehouse. They saw Katrina's victims firsthand. They watched them deal with insurance issues and depression. They saw their heartbreak and tried to offer comfort.
Now they are happy to be coordinating an effort that will help them start again. "We talk about welfare a lot, but down here you see welfare in action," said Elder Anderson.
Garry Flake, director of Church Emergency Response, said the Church is simply responding to a request from the state of Louisiana.
The effort is the third time this year the Church has asked members to pack kits to respond to specific needs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
In September the Church sent 20,000 cleaning kits to the Gulf Coast. The kits were badly needed by victims trying to clean up rotten food and moldy walls in their flooded homes. Thousands of additional kits which include bleach, disinfectant dish soap, latex gloves, scrub brushes and other items are currently being assembled.
In September and October, school supplies collected and assembled by Church members in multiple southeastern locales made their way to damaged schools in Louisiana and Mississippi and to Georgia schools whose enrollments skyrocketed as they have accommodated evacuees from the Gulf region. The school-supply kit initiatives began when reports emerged of damaged schools and displaced students.
From his experience in the South this year, Elder Anderson said many people are grateful the Church is looking for and responding to basic needs of disaster victims.
"There are a lot of good people in the world and Church members are right up there with the best," he said.
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