By Daniel Brunty
Winston County Journal
The community-based recovery fund “WinstonStrong” held its weekly resource meeting at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Louisville this past Thursday,
The meeting began with a prayer by Board Member Paul Simmons, followed by the introduction of attendees. Next, WinstonStrong Co-Chair/Finance Sub-Committee member Bro. Mike Dowd gave an update of the financial committee. As of August 4, the Disaster Relief Fund had a total of $336,217.96.
Then Dowd gave a brief update of the latest happenings of WinstonStrong, including the arrival of World Renew for the next two weeks, comprising of six people and three teams. These teams are here to assist the WinstonStrong case managers with un-met needs assessments. Dowd encouraged that anyone that has not had an assessment, and those that have already have been assessed by WinstonStrong case workers still need this assessment.
“We encourage people with needs to go and be assessed,” Dowd said. “And the more needs our assessment shows, the more we have to show other organizations, such as Christian Aid, to help us with our reconstruction.”
Dowd also announced that the group Christian Aid contacted WinstonStrong in regards to their arrival to assess the destruction in the community, and are interested in doing 5-6 rebuilds of homes as well. The group, however, needs a place to stay while in the community. Dowd discussed with all attending where these people could be housed during their stay in Winston County.
The next topic of discussion was the Rally Alley Rumble that will take place on August 14 at 7 p.m. on South Columbus Avenue. The event takes place in conjunction with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally being held. To help the victims of the April 28 storms, a gate will be placed on the entrance to the performance of the bands that will charge patrons $10. Half of these proceeds will go to WinstonStrong Disaster Relief, and WinstonStrong members assisting at the gates.
MEMA representative Meredith Lee gave all attending an update on MEMA services. Lee stated that they had received 77 un-met needs, with 37 of those being referred to the WinstonStrong case managers. Following Lee, Glenda Johnson of Habitat for Humanity made an announcement regarding a meeting she will be conducting with all the affiliates of Mississippi’s Habitat for Humanity on August 11, and she wanted to know if there was something that the WinstonStrong organization might want to ask these affiliates, and she would be able to pass that information along.
Dowd then gave the Volunteer update in the absence of Volunteer Coordinator Hubert Yates. Dowd stated there are 12 chainsaw jobs left, with a need for volunteers to do so. Dowd also stated that they are I need of the following volunteer services:
• Certified forklift driver for the warehouse
• Call list for volunteers in September for drivers for Mennonites/Amish, driving them from Metts Street (their campsite) to the work site
• Call list for drivers with trucks and trailers to transport items for storm victims (there are people who are willing to donate, but they have no way to get their donated items to the storm victims)
Dowd also mentioned that there is a truckload (13 pallets) of 4-tab or architectural shingles that is available to WinstonStrong for the price of its shipping, which is $2,400. It is enough to roof 6-8 homes. “Look into your churches, and if they could donate $200 to that and another organization donate $100, after a while we will have the shipping for the shingles,” Dowd said.
After this announcement, Dowd mentioned the lack of volunteers from the local area. “They are coming in from out of town, but they are not showing their heads locally,” Dowd said. “We don’t have many local people volunteering, and that is a little disappointing.”
The next part of the meeting was the update of the case managers, given by WinstonStrong Case Manager Coordinator Mellie Jordan. Jordan stated that at the present time the case managers had 108 cases, with 40 of those being rebuilds, and 30 of those being repairs. Jordan stated that they are still in need of volunteer labor, funding, and household items. She also discussed a list of immediate needs that the case workers are seeing.
FEMA representative Tonia Pence announced that FEMA is and will be holding Strategic Community Recovery Planning Team (SCRPT) meetings. This is open to all, and is an inclusive, participatory process of visioning with the community, goal setting and identifying objectives for recovery. These meetings will be every Tuesday in Aug at 7 pm. The next meeting Aug. 11 will be at City Hall.
Dowd concluded the meeting with an announcement that the Southern Gospel Music Association is planning an October 4 benefit for Louisville. All money collected for this event is intended for the use of the event and the residents of Louisville only. Agreeing to perform so far is: Kinsmen, Peppers, Pounders, Joy Card, Runnels One Way Quartet, and Sean Greer. They are hoping to book this event at the Louisville Coliseum. More details of the event will be confirmed at a later date.
WinstonStrong will hold their next resource meeting on Thursday, August 14 at 2:30 at Mount Moriah Baptist Church.
The list of items that the case managers feel that the clients of Winston Strong who are disaster survivors are in need of:
Pots and Pans
curtains, including shower curtains
linen, (bedding all sizes)
bedroom, which includes mattress
And monetary donations for various other things
List of immediate needs (8 different cases)
1. Air mattresses needed for a family that is staying with family and do not have enough places to sleep.
2. Two Children in need of school uniforms: size 8 and size 16, both boys.
3. An individual in need of getting vehicle repaired so that he can get to and from work; $2100. Same individual is in need of a sofa and love seat.
4. Family in need of a dinette set ($350), and also needs some electrical work done on home ($600), both prices are the cheapest quotes they could find.
5. Family in need of a storage building so that personal items can be stored in order for Mennonites can begin to repair/rebuild home. (currently in a FEMA trailer).
6. Family in need of a hot water heater.
7. Family in need of furniture: Bedroom, living room, dining room, and a bed frame.
8. Family in need of a five or six drawer chest.
****of these 8 cases, once needed items can be found, bought, donated; their case can be closed, and all un-met needs will have been met!!
World Renew will be set up in three different walk-in locations. They are:
Center Ridge Church – August 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; August 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Liberty Baptist Church – August 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; August 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
First United Methodist Church – August 5-9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; August 11-13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.