Congregation met the needs of Katrina's victims - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Congregation met the needs of Katrina's victims

Roslyn Anderson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting Mississippi's shores.

Within hours congregations like Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson were getting to work distributing help to those in need.

As Katrina roared ashore, more than 160 miles north the Christ United Methodist Church Disaster team was opening the doors of their new building, establishing a plan to help.

That within itself was a miracle.

"We at this church did not lose any electricity. The rest of Jackson surrounding us, homes, they had zero electricity," said Mary John Johnson, assistant administrator of Christ United Methodist Church.

Immediately Johnson said they began getting phone calls while people suddenly began dropping off clothing, food and other needed items.

"We had to get a call center going. So I got the phone company in here. We had five different lines, offices to take phone calls. So then all of a sudden people all over Mississippi in shelters were calling saying 'Help'," said Johnson.

The gym was transformed into a highly organized distribution center that operated 24/7 for 10 days before moving to the old grocery store next door a larger facility.

"We would have different orders and so you put it on a pallet and we would shrink wrap it and say it was going to Tylertown, Mississippi and we would put it on that truck and have it delivered," said the church official.

Area businesses also donated 18 wheelers, fuel and forklifts.

"People would leave here at midnight to deliver food and things to people way out in the country," said Johnson.

More than one thousand volunteers worked tirelessly in shifts to get basic needs to hurricane survivors.

"What was the blessing and wonderful thing of it all, it wasn't just Methodists and it wasn't just our church. People from all denominations and the community pulled together to make this happen," added Johnson.

Katrina's victims had help from caring strangers.

Nearly 600 tractor trailer loads were distributed statewide, supplying 30 to 40 centers

@2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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