For Miss-Lou volunteers, holiday is just another chance to help Katrina evacuees in need

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The term labor day was fitting for some. Physical labor day would’ve been more specific.

Freedom from normal jobs gave Miss-Lou residents the chance to volunteer their time with area organizations working to accommodate hurricane evacuees.

Delivery trucks made drop-offs that had to be unloaded. Clothing was ready to be sorted. And evacuees had to be fed.

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West Primary teacher Laurie Wells joined a group at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church to sort through piles of supplies.

&uot;They needed volunteers,&uot; she said. &uot;I knew I was off, so I came up here.&uot;

Mary Emrick, put in hours at the church and at Turning Pages bookstore on her holiday.

&uot;I just wanted to do it because everybody needs to do their part,&uot; she said. &uot;There are so many in need that need so much help.&uot;

Volunteers are, and have been, spread across the Miss-Lou since last Sunday. Many manning stations at local shelters have worked multiple shifts. Others are serving as information providers.

&uot;We are doing all we can do to help,&uot; said Johnny Rodriquez of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post. &uot;We are just doing what we can.&uot;

The VFW is a command post for evacuees to sign in and get questions answered.

Most volunteers viewed their latest duties as more of a responsibility that a gift to others.

&uot;It could be us,&uot; worker Vernice Mitchell said. &uot;You know where you’ve been, but you can’t know where you are going.&uot;

Mitchell is part of a 10 or more person crew that’s been preparing meals for shelter residents at Natchez High School.

The cooks come in at 6 a.m. and stay on their feet until after the 6 p.m. dinner.

&uot;I love to help people,&uot; Essie Granger said. &uot;I never know when my day is coming.&uot;

Local Rotary Club members did the heavy lifting at the Salvation Army Monday afternoon when a truckload of supplies arrived. Sim Mosby and his son 6-year-old Cole said they were happy to pitch in.

&uot;Right now, everybody wants to do something,&uot; Mosby said.