Dealing with Disaster - Mid-Missourians Help Gulf Coast

1 decade 10 months 1 week ago November 18, 2005 Nov 18, 2005 Friday, November 18 2005 Friday, November 18, 2005 10:27:26 PM CST in News

They signed-up to help the Red Cross, Salvation Army, some even volunteered themselves.

Free help. Who can beat that? KOMU looked at the work of Missouri volunteers in Mississippi this hurricane season, and a look at why private organizations are asking for more help.

Marc Dipoto came with three volunteers from the Missouri Baptist Convention to cut trees for Cap Lambert.

"I'll be 70 my next birthday and I can't hold out like I used to," said Cap Lambert a McComb, Mississippi resident.

After Hurricane Katrina, Lambert's yard work turned into hard work

That's why Marc and his three Missouri miracle workers are a Godsend.

"A job like we're doing today would probably cost these people eight to 10 thousand dollars to have done, and they don't have that kind of money,"  said Dipoto.

Money is not what Dipoto and his relief crew want. The relief on Cap Lambert's face is enough. "I just thank the lord they came along to help me out," said Lambert.

The Southern Baptists convention's sent more than 15,000 crews like this to help rebuild the gulf coast. They've also cooked more than 11 million meals in Red Cross shelters like this one in Mccomb, Mississippi.

Molly Tyhe graduated from Rock Bridge high school and came to help with other ladies from her church. "People want to help out and people want to do things, and people want to see that other people are doing it and making a difference," said Thye.

She's working alongside more than 20 Red Cross volunteers at the shelter. They're part of the nearly 210,000 red cross workers helping nationwide. "My number is 106,991," said Thye.

Andrew Belcher hopes the line of volunteers stays long into the future.

"I hope that this doesn't become, yesterday's news, where people say I'm going to volunteer now, and I'm going to give my heart to this cause now. Bringing these people back and then three weeks down the road it's yesterday's news, and they've moved on and they've stopped volunteering," said Andrew Belcher Red Cross volunteer.

Leaving Gulf Coast residents without help doesn't cut it for Missouri Baptists. The convention says it needs workers like Mark Dipoto in the gulf coast for at least three more years.

"I think people are aware now that Americans need each other. You can't just depend on the government to take care of you. You know there's too many people that need help and there's not enough money," said Lambert. 

How much money do you think this job would cost right here? "Oh I'd be scared to say. Thousands of dollars. For as big a challenge a few trees can bring," said Lambert.

Cap Lambert can't begin to put a price tag on a Missouri volunteer.

"I love Missouri. I just may go back with y'all." Lambert laughed. "It's a great state. Ya'll got some good people."

We tried to find how much money non-profit help is saving the federal and state governments in the Gulf. With the widespread damage, FEMA and the Louisiana governor's office said its still too early to tell.

The Southern Baptist convention has put out another call for volunteers.  It hopes volunteers will travel south for the Thanksgiving holiday.

That includes teams to go down to the gulf next week during Thanksgiving.

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