One of my friends from a long time ago made her way down to the coast of Mississippi, and she wrote me last night with the following report from David Knight’s base of operations:
I got back home yesterday evening after spending a week at the Episcopal Disaster Relief Center at Coast Episcopal School in Long Beach/Pass Christian. I only got to speak a sentence or two to David Knight. I just hope that you will continue to tell people in your blog about the phenomenal thing that is happening there.
The medical team from Duke Hospital was seeing hundreds of people a day, including some minor surgeries — in a gymnasium with parts of three walls blown out. Dozens of volunteers were sleeping on cots and air mattresses in classrooms while other classrooms were set up as distribution centers for food, clothing, and supplies. Priests and volunteers are coming in from all over the country; trucks full of donations are arriving almost more quickly than volunteers can unload them. Within a week the grounds of the school are going to be completely transformed into a “relief city” with tents and trailers for the clinic and relief distribution while the gym is being repaired and equipped to become a “feeding station” to provide hot meals for three months or more. I have never been prouder of my diocese as it steps in to do what needs to be done and I have never been prouder of my fellow Mississippians. Never have I seen race be less of an issue as I have in the last week. The refrain I heard over and over again was “we’ll get through this.” Tired, dazed people who have lost much, if not everything, they owned are treating one another with respect and kindness and gently ironic but not cynical good humor. I have seen the power of the church at its best and I am deeply humbled by the experience. The Spirit is most truly working at Coast Episcopal.
I am not surprised to hear such good things about work in which my friend David is involved, and I’m joyous to hear that Holly could lend her efforts to the work of protecting and sustaining our storm-tossed neighbors. Please continue to support the ministries down in Mississippi and Louisiana — as the initial wave of generosity recedes, our determination to share becomes all the more important.