Local churches prepare for the next disaster - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Local churches prepare for the next disaster

Hurricane Katrina packed a wallop, to the areas it hit, and the people who lived there. It seemed to many people that nobody knew what to do with the masses of evacuees that poured out of affected areas. Problem spots like the Superdome underscored that opinion.

The trouble during and after Katrina caused several local churches to develop their own disaster plans.

"Whether we have the right answer or whether we can do it better, we certainly have the heart for it," said Mary Anne Gibson at Germantown United Methodist Church.

Germantown United Methodist recently started a Disaster Relief Task Force. The church is getting certified to be a Red Cross shelter for future disasters.

Officials at another local church, Hope Presbyterian, have met with several other congregations to develop a disaster relief network of churches for future disasters. Seeing how long it took to help the folks affected by Katrina made an impression.

"We said that's unacceptable," said Shannon Eubank at Hope Presbyterian. We want to help as much as possible."

Hope didn't wait for government relief efforts to kick in when Katrina evacuees showed up. The church handed out $175,000. Church members said the evacuees lined up outside the church, and the money was gone in a few hours.

The churches say they hope their own disaster relief efforts will add to government services, and maybe get things done quicker. Their aim is not to replace government programs.

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