Church Members, Volunteers Leave for Hurricane Coast

It takes a lot more than tools to help disaster victims get back on their feet; it also takes a human element.

Volunteers say you also have to have plenty of time and a loving heart, and that's exactly what some folks had as they headed west bright and early Monday morning.

They were heading out to parts of Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina. These people are not packing up to go on vacation, though many of them are using their vacation days from work to fulfill this mission.

They are going to Laurel, Mississippi to help with relief efforts in the town heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Scott Bonnell, a missions pastor with Northwoods Baptist Church, says, "We'll have different crews doing what we call 'mud-outs,' which is taking mud out of buildings and homes devastated. We'll have teams; chain saw crews will be taking trees off of houses and properties."

About 43 members of the Florida Baptist Association left Tallahassee Monday morning. The primary job will be removing debris.

The association's disaster relief coordinator, Mark Prasek, says they're not strangers to hard work.

Mark says, "We have a long-standing commitment with other organizations, including the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse. We've also provided disaster relief up at ground zero after 9/11 where we served over one-and-a-quarter million meals to relief workers as well as victims."

The missionaries say it's hard work they're happy to do out of the love of God and compassion for the hurricane victims.

More work crews will be sent to other areas of Mississippi and Alabama in the coming weeks. If you would like to get involved, but maybe you cannot afford the time to go on one of these trips, donations are accepted.