Students and evacuees share space - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Students and evacuees share space

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Churches, community centers and schools opened their doors to Hurricane Gustav evacuees this week, leaving some to wonder how school officials are balancing the needs of the evacuees with those of students.

A Memphis Catholic High school gym class was held outside Tuesday because the school's gym is housing evacuees.

"Basically, it's what Christ would do, and the bottom line for Memphis Catholic High School and Middle School -- we teach our students how to become disciples in our world today," said principal Jim Pohlman.

The Red Cross opened the shelter at the school on Saturday. The gymnasium and other areas offer places for kids to play and adults to relax.

Meanwhile, students continue classes in other parts of the building, and they say the outreach is giving them an important lesson in compassion.

"By our school taking the evacuees from Gustav, that's making it seem like we do care about other people. We're not just stuck on ourselves," Memphis Catholic senior Alexis Lloyd said.

About 150 people from the New Orleans area will call Memphis Catholic High School home for the next few days.

New Orleans evacuee Peter Henderson says his family couldn't afford a hotel, and finding the shelter was a blessing.

"We're grateful for 'em for letting us come in here and things, too," said Henderson. "You know and I know it's difficult for them, just like it's difficult for us. But we're trying to make both ends meet while working with them, too."

Evacuees watch news reports and wait for the time when it becomes safe to return home.

Bishop Byrne High School has also opened its doors as a shelter, hosting more than 150 people.

Officials there are asking for donations of food and other necessities.


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