The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues. I received this email from Andi Lawrence, one of our “adopted daughters”, who works in Dallas, Texas. Campus Crusade for Christ is helping fill the tremendous needs. There are opportunties to give. But Campus Crusade is also sending trained, mature college students to listen, to hug, to play with children.
Andi writes about her experience.
I just got home from the Convention Center working as there are many displaced children from their families. The stories and the images are heartbreaking. As many of you know I work for Child Protective Services and we were called yesterday with the knowledge that children were coming to Dallas without family or close friends. I got there around 6 this morning to begin assessing the situation with a few others in my building. The convention center is not filled yet, but buses are continuing to come in. I believe Reunion is full.
I think we have all heard people complaining about the lack of response to the people. I can tell you that they are trying, but it is slow. When I arrived they had a basic medical center set up, but by the time I left there was a major triage center created, mental health center created, the kidney diaylsis machines were coming in, the tetanous shots was arriving, diabetic section. People were getting treated. But the ratio of people to medical personnel is outrageous. The medical supplies were coming. Medication was arriving and more was arriving for the elderly that has high blood pressure, swelling problems, heart problems, etc. Food was there for the people. Clothes were there for the people, but not enough. The food and clothing was not in abundance, but it is there. They have water, diapers, formula, gatorade, pedilite all in the back for future use. There are not enough cots for the people. They are bringing more cots in and blow up mattresses for people. People were making makeshift beds with chairs.
Why I was there… Children and parents were getting on buses, but they would be separated. We had many parents coming to us saying that their child got on a bus and they have not seen them since. We had children that were running from us as they thought they would go into foster care forever. There were children that we found and through calling different phone numbers we were able to find relatives to come and get them. And there are children that we are having to put in temporary foster care as we have no current leads on where to locate their family.
Stories from the refugees… The stories are awful. The Superdome experience was as awful as the news was reporting if not worse. The sight of seeing the dead and not being able to help. Not being rescued by people because the people were demanding money to be rescue them. The suicide of others. The attacks of women and children.
The need is great. The planning is overwhelming and frustrating to many as we see the need for these people. The people will be staying in Dallas and starting over their lives. This will be a long term issue that the City of Dallas (and many other cities) will be working with for months to come. If you can donate money, please do so. The Red Cross will use it wisely. If you want to volunteer, please do so. To volunteer is to understand this problem firsthand and see the need. You will be touched and you will have the desire to do more. Some people just want someone to talk to and tell them their story about the Hurricane and the loss of their “world”. I had an elderly women that I spoke to this morning that was telling me about her story.
I know this is very overwhelming and I am sorry, but I want you to know. I want you to have a desire to volunteer your time. I want you to see the need to give monetarily. If you would like to know more, you are welcome to call me or email me.
Thanks for taking this time to read this email as you are getting an abundance of emails concerning this situation.
In His Grip,
If you live in a city of refuge, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to personally express God’s love to refugees. Normally, we read about these in the newspaper and see the images from Sudan, Ethiopia, or Thailand. Many are in cities where they can personally experience God working through you as you are missionaries to the downtrodden, givers of hope to those in need.