Friday, October 27, 2006

Other Diocesan Projects

Although I’m in the lower ninth ward with the mobile respite unit, that’s only a small part of the Diocese’s recovery efforts. I thought you might be interested in knowing about some of the other ministries the Church is running. This list is in no way complete; it’s only the things I’ve heard a lot about or seen for myself. All numbers and statistics come from here.

- The Mobile Respite Unit. You know about this one; it’s what I’m working on. We served over 40,000 people between December and August.
- The St. Anna’s Mobile Medical Mission: St. Anna’s Episcopal Church on Esplanade sends an RV to various neighborhoods with a medical team. Volunteer nurses check blood pressure, blood sugar, mental health, etc., and can point patients in the direction of other resources. They sometimes have a doctor, and join us in the lower ninth Walgreen’s parking lot twice a week. The unit has helped over 3,000 people.
- Mobile Loaves and Fishes is a program from Austin, TX that sends trucks to poor neighborhoods with free meals. Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans started running a Loaves and Fishes truck in January, and they join us in the ninth a couple times a week with sandwiches, chips, lemonade, and tea.
- As of Sep. 1, the gutting program had gutted 380 homes, a plurality of them in the Gentilly neighborhood. We’ve finished many more homes since then. There are nine other young folks devoted to it (I would have made ten): 8 interns (though some do more than just leading crews), one office person (who also leads crews), and Katie, who runs the whole show. They do a great job working with homeowners, scouting houses, and leading crews of short-term volunteers from all over.
- St. George’s Episcopal Church runs a free community café uptown on Thursday and Friday nights. They call it the Dragon Café, and it attracts homeless people, parishioners, and recovery volunteers. They usually get a jazz band or something to come in and play, and then have a service afterwards. I’ve been once; it was nice. Together with the Mobile Loaves and Fishes, St. George’s has served over 24,000 meals.
- The Church of the Annunciation, in the Broadmoore neighborhood, has secularized its sanctuary and now holds services in a trailer. The church has been converted into a large distribution center, with clothes, shoes, water, stoves, and Lord knows what else. It’s a wonderful operation, one that attracts its own volunteers and has done a world of good. Annunciation, along with the Cathedral and Holy Comforter, has served over 40,000 people.
- Perhaps the most important element of the Diocese of Louisiana’s hurricane response is the Jericho Road program. The Jericho Road builds low-income housing in the Central City area to help displaced families return to New Orleans.
- The national Katrina response program is called Darkness into Day. It's mostly a financial campaign that helps the Dioceses of Louisana and Mississippi rebuild churches and finance ministries until they can get back on their own two feet.

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