Many churches not seeking FEMA money

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

We wouldn’t begrudge them if they took it, but many churches in the Miss-Lou said they won’t be looking for any reimbursement from FEMA after a weeks of housing and helping Katrina evacuees.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is allowing churches to apply for reimbursements for their costs in the aftermath of the hurricane. It’s a policy that has some people questioning whether that violates separation of church and state.

In this case, those questions should be moot. Churches in our community and across the country stepped up to help the victims of Katrina and Rita; often they dipped into their own pockets to pay for electric bills, meals, clothing and other items for those in need. For many of the people displaced from the hurricanes, churches were the only place they could go.

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Most of the churches probably won’t even apply for reimbursements, and those that do won’t likely be holding their breath for the money.

Many of the churches received donations to help offset their costs, but some, for one reason or another, simply did not.

As one local minister said, &uot;We did this because we felt like God was calling us to do this.&uot;

Hurricane Katrina was an extraordinary event, and what has taken place since the storm hit has been even more extraordinary &045; not the slow response or the problems in New Orleans but the overwhelming efforts of individuals, agencies, charity groups and churches who have helped begin to put the pieces back together.