How It Should Be Done

Evacuees find relief, grapple with worry at Hirsch

Evacuees find relief, grapple with worry at Hirsch
September 3, 2005

By Alexandyr Kent

On an arena floor packed with cots, inflatable beds and donated goods, many of the approximately 1,000 evacuees appear to have settled comfortably but anxiously into life at a shelter. Under the umbrella organization of the Northwest Louisiana chapter of the American Red Cross, pastors from the First Assembly of God in Shreveport and other volunteers are organizing relief efforts at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum, providing food, clothing, medical services, medication, mental health counseling services and recreation.

…Diana Sumpter, who is coordinating efforts to provide information about social services at the shelter, said they are compiling lists of missing people and lists of those seeking jobs and housing. Her biggest challenge was securing transportation for evacuees to go to Social Security offices. She also noted the shelter does not have Internet access, which is essential. She is busy searching for a local facility that could offer evacuees online access. “We need a bank of computers so they can register with FEMA.”

…Steve Beyer, a pastor from First Assembly of God, is the shelter’s facility manager. He coordinates all efforts being made there. On Friday he estimated the shelter was housing 1,000 evacuees. He agreed current needs were being met effectively, crediting the teams of police, doctors, nurses and 150 to 200 volunteers on site. “I give them an A-plus.” But Beyer said the level of need will increase. “We can always use more volunteers, obviously, especially between 10 (p.m.) and 10 o’clock in the morning.” He said they will have continued needs for specific food items, including milk. But raising more money is a bigger concern. His church has set up a relief fund, which has largely funded operations at the shelter to date, but he anticipated soon asking for financial assistance from the American Red Cross and other sources.

“Enthusiasm is running a little bit lower as far as these donations. Large organizations donate meals and all that,” he said. “It (would be) better if I could have larger organizations donate some money.”

Shreveport First Assembly of God 5720 Buncombe Road Shreveport, LA 71129 318.671.7100 Church Receptionist

===ALSO IN SHREVEPORT:
Salvation Army needs donations, volunteers
September 3, 2005

Volunteers and donations are needed at a new Salvation Army collection site.

The agency will be set up at the former Sam’s Club at the intersection of the Inner Loop and Jewella Avenue. Truckloads of goods are coming in from around the country and volunteers are needed to help sort items. As well, they need to borrow equipment such as golf carts, forklifts or a flatbed trailer.

To volunteer, just go to the site.

Donations of all goods: clothing, shoes, non-perishable food, water, toys, and personal hygiene products are greatly needed.

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