CNN features city in relief report

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2005

A nationally televised report highlighting local hurricane relief efforts has "opened the floodgates," Father Fred Lindstrom said on Tuesday.

Lindstrom, president of the Greenville Area Ministerial Association, said a barrage of phone calls from across the nation had come into Greenville following a morning report on CNN.

A CNN crew came to Greenville on Labor Day to interview storm evacuees along with local citizens and agencies trying to assist them.

"They went to the old Wickes building (where donations are being taken and distributed) and to Sherling Lake, where a holiday cookout was held for the evacuees," Lindstrom said.

Since the Tuesday morning telecast, offers of help for area evacuees have come from as far away as New York and Illinois, the minister said.

"We've had people offering to come down to this area and volunteer. People have offered to send money, clothing, and some have offered housing to the evacuees. It's amazing," he explained.

As for local storm relief efforts, Lindstrom praised the "good people of Greenville and Butler County" for their continued response to the crisis.

Since the storm, additional Red Cross volunteers from the local area have also been recruited and trained, Lindstrom said.

Jane Thrash, area director for ARC, is currently assisting evacuees at the Butler County Department of Human Resources office on Caldwell St.

"We still have some areas we need to tweak to get everybody on the same page. We've had a few duplications. Overall, though, I think things are going very well," Lindstrom said.

With the tremendous devastation to areas hard hit by Katrina, it appears the local community will have plenty of time to streamline their relief efforts.

"We have to remember this is not a short-term situation. This is going to continue for a good while. We just need to learn the most efficient way to handle the situation," Lindstrom said.

To give a monetary donation to the local Katrina relief effort, send checks marked "evacuee assistance" to the Greenville Area Ministerial Association, 210 Church St., Greenville, AL 36037.

Among the ongoing needs are non-perishable food items, bottled water, new clothing and underwear, toiletry items, batteries, feminine hygiene items and other necessities. In addition to the DHR offices, these items can be dropped off at Southside Baptist King's Building (the former Wicke's warehouse), located on College St, at both fire stations and the ambulance building on Palmer St. in Georgiana. Items not needed by local evacuees will be delivered to other storm victims, Linda Horn, a Katrina relief volunteer from Greenville, said.

According to Horn, several truckloads of supplies gathered in Greenville have already been delivered to storm victims in Mississippi, with more missions of mercy planned for the future.

For additional information about donations or to volunteer, contact DHR at 382-4400.