WESTERN NEW YORK: Missioners head to New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina mission trip

August 17, 2007

A group of 17 missioners, ranging in age from middle-school students to senior citizens, will depart on a weeklong mission trip to New Orleans on August 25.

The group, which hales from 11 Episcopal Diocese of Western New York congregations, will be on hand to witness the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 29.

The missioners will work in Louisiana's heat and humidity doing what they can to help restore some semblance of normalcy to people whose lives have been disrupted for two years. Some areas of the city remain without power. Many families still live in tiny Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers, their homes mold-infested and uninhabitable. Many stores and businesses have not reopened. Jobs are hard to come by.

Some of the missioners will lend a hand with gutting and rebuilding homes. Others will perform landscaping repairs, cook and serve food, or work with medical or spiritual ministries.

The group will be housed at St. Paul's Homecoming Center, sponsored by St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the Lakeview area of New Orleans. St. Paul's church and school sat under eight feet of polluted water and
debris for three weeks in the aftermath of Katrina. First floor interiors were destroyed, and two single-story buildings on the property were slated for demolition. The Diocese of Western New York and its churches have sent more than $8,000 in relief support to St. Paul's.

The missioners, three of whom are veterans of previous Katrina relief mission trips to Camp Coast Care in nearby Mississippi, will return to Buffalo, New York, on September 1.

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