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September 11, 2005
I am horrified that the evacuees in the Jackson Coliseum were told Saturday evening that they were being evicted by noon Monday; as if they have not been traumatized enough! People need some time to heal their spirits, to rest, to find their loved ones, to develop a plan. A handful tell me they are being allowed to spend Monday night in the Coliseum before leaving on long drives to other states.
Apparently there are scheduled shows: Disney on Ice, has continued to be advertised even though the Coliseum was full of evacuees, and there is the State Fair in October.
Local Red Cross staff were told Saturday, I was told. They and representatives of the US Dept. of Agriculture were working diligently Monday trying to arrange shelter. Churches and people have taken in many, but 200 displaced people still remained Monday morning without shelter per Jackson's Clarion Ledger. Those in temporary shelters are not included in these numbers.
Those in need of shelter lined up Monday morning outside of the Coliseum to see what could be found for them. A National Guard Lieutenant empowered me in working to make those in line more comfortable, by making all my suggestions happen. He promises to send me an invitation to his wedding later this year; we hugged. It feels good to have worked together helping those so deserving. We did get the line inside. Chairs for them. I left about 4:30 Monday afternoon when the end of the line was in sight; very tired, praying for all.
Hopefully, all will have shelter, somewhere. But what about the rent? They don't have jobs. What about furniture? They don't have furniture. What about clothes? They don't have much: no coats, school clothes. Maybe they have enough savings in their bank accounts to turn on the utilities, to maintain them, to buy groceries.
I know of no one that has seen 2,000 dollars. There have been debit cards for a couple hundred for some from the Red Cross. People are registering with FEMA, but I have to tell you FEMA was not near the Coliseum over the weekend or Monday, even though there are questions to be answered.
I spent Sunday afternoon and all day Monday at the Coliseum; I have been there as possible all week listening. Sunday and Monday some were angry, some cried, some have cried all they can cry, and God bless some are sure things will be alright, and it will be for some. There were some just loading their cars to head out to somewhere....?
United they stand divided they fall, keeps running through my head, and scenes of destitute families living in cars, etc. Is this going to be the next wave of horror all over this country? Are shelters now going to close like dominoes, with paper trails showing how people have been placed? Knowing full-well the truth of the matter?
I spoke with a man, Sunday who said, "Reverend, I've worked hard all my life. I have provided for my family. We had a nice home, and nice furniture. It's all gone now; we have nothing. I've paid my taxes. All these years. But now I can't provide for my family; I can't protect my family....... Reverend, do you know how that feels? I feel forgotten.”
The Reverend Jacqueline Luck