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2007 Recipient: Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, LA
The Hurricane Relief and Social Justice Project, started by the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, LA, is restoring hope in the Gulf Coast and creating right relationships. This comprehensive program for a long-term just recovery, developed with community partners, has placed thousands of Unitarian Universalist (UU) volunteers with community organizations and UU congregations, and includes an advocacy campaign for affordable housing.
After Hurricane Katrina, the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, LA, began receiving calls from concerned UUs around the country eager to provide assistance to those affected by the storm. The congregation brought on staff and began organizing a relief center, coordinating volunteers, receiving resources, and establishing communication links with other local churches assisting in aid efforts. As the congregation received monetary donations, the Disaster Response Steering Committee used the funds to improve local shelters, provide equipment for schools housing displaced students as well as identity-specific foundations, such as Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, the disabled, and displaced UUs. In the past year, the congregation has formed a Katrina PAC to organize around social justice in the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.