Albany prays, ramps up relief effort - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany prays, ramps up relief effort

September 1, 2005

Albany-- Many of you might wonder how you can help the people who's lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Thursday, the Albany Mayor joined with leaders of the faith community to encourage southwest Georgians to donate money and time and to pray.

The phones at the Albany Red Cross Chapter are ringing off the hook. Callers are asking how they can help hurricane victims. Victims like Salvador Schiavi and Victor Gurley. The brothers-in-law evacuated their New Orleans homes. Katrina was the first hurricane Salvador hasn't ridden out since 1947.

Why did he leave this time? "Everybody else was going," said Salvador. You see on television how big it is. And they're telling you 'You better go because it's going to be a killer.' You figure your age and you just decide maybe I better get out of here," said Victor.

Now the Red Cross is helping them get the medicines they need, since they're quickly running out. "They're try, they sure help and try," said Salvador.

Albany knows all too well how devastating mother nature can be, experiencing a 100-year flood, deadly and destructive, and still small in comparison to what the gulf coast is facing.

Today, Mayor Willie Adams and city leaders came together with area church pastors to ask people in Albany to aid the relief efforts. Kevin Hogencamp, Assistant City Manager "From the Salvation Army and the Red Cross we're hearing three things, to volunteer, to donate blood, and to make monetary donations."

First Baptist Church Pastor Butch Knight moved to Albany last month from Poplarville, Mississippi, seventy miles north of New Orleans. "Physically I'm here, but my heart is with the folks there right now."

He's going back tomorrow to help his old congregation clean up and rebuild, but he says prayer is the most powerful way to help hurricane victims. "There are tremendous needs in every way. There are schools destroyed and towns that have been altered permanently. We just want to be able to respond to their need, help them, and share the love of Jesus Christ with all of them."

The need is massive but the relief effort can be too, if people from across the country come together to help.

You can make monetary donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief, call 1-800-HELP-NOW. The South Georgia Red Cross number is 229-436-4845. Another way to help, donate clothes and other items to the Salvation Army, that number is 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

The Albany Chapter is holding two volunteer crash courses to train people quickly to help. The one-day training classes will be held Friday and Saturday starting at 8:30AM.

You'll learn shelter operations. Volunteers must be able to spend three weeks in the hurricane destruction zone. But you can still help locally if you cannot donate that much time.

"There is nobody who isn't needed, it is simply that large and widespread. We will need everybody that can volunteer," said Daniel Churchman, American Red Cross. To take the volunteer class, please call the Red Cross Chapter on Pine Avenue at 229-436-4845 to sign up in advance.

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