I bet most of you can easily tell me where you were when the news began to spread of the horrible damage, of so many dead and dying, of entire communities that just vanished. It reminds me a great deal of November, 1963 – for those of you old enough to remember – where were you when you heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot?
On August 29, 2005, I was planning out my fall semester for Kindermusik classes in a new location. I watched with horror, as I know so many of you did, as the monster known as Katrina unloaded on the Gulf Coast. Knowing what hurricane devastation is like personally from my parents’ experiences in 1972 and 1985, I was transfixed at the thought of what would happen to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Amazingly, New Orleans rode out Katrina’s landfall itself fairly well. It was the breaks in the levees that resulted in the horrible flooding and all the misery, devastation, and heartbreak that soon followed. New Orleans is still in the process of cleaning up, rebuilding, and getting on with life as they know it there. Thanks to some high-profile celebrities and talented hometown folks, there have been many fundraisers and help has been flowing to that beautiful, gracious city.
As I watched some of the coverage of the nightmare that unfolded in New Orleans in the days that followed, I didn’t stop to think through what I have known for years watching hurricanes in the Gulf headed toward Carrabelle, Florida – if you’re going to go through a hurricane, pray that you’re on the west side of it, because the upper eastern quadrant is the one that really gets socked by the full force of the high velocity winds and storm surge. That’s how my parents’ home was partially ripped out to sea by Hurricane Elena in 1985 and then all traces completely eradicated by Hurricane Kate just weeks later. Now the Gulf of Mexico comes almost completely up to Highway 98 where Mama and Daddy once owned approximately a half acre of land with a 3-bedroom house sitting on it.
You probably can’t tell from this image, but the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama were on that eastern side – where entire towns were wiped off the face of the earth and communities ripped apart.
You’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up now – February 26, 2007 – 18 months later almost to the day. The reason is that I’d like to share with you about a Kindermusik educator and her husband who are making a difference in their part of that world.
Ginger and John Bennett were Georgia residents, but recently returned home to the Biloxi area in order to be near their families and to help out in the region. Ginger is a certified, licensed music therapist as well as a Kindermusik educator. John is a store manager for Lowe’s.
Just after Katrina hit, John and Ginger became involved with an organization known as Mission Love Seeds (you can read more about MLS here) that was directly involved in hurricane relief to the area known as Ground Zero – formerly Pearlington and Waveland, Mississippi. Over the past 18 months, Mission Love Seeds has taken monthly trips into the area, bringing badly needed supplies and help. There is still such a need in that area that you don’t hear about on the news!
Tonight, in my inbox, I received a “Hurricane Update” from Ginger. I am posting it here below:
“The weather on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been absolutely incredible these last few days. Yesterday the open sections of the beach were packed with people. This is the first time since Katrina that I’ve seen so many people out enjoying the day.
Mission Love Seeds continues our work in Pearlington. We are excited to announce that many of the homes we’ve sponsored are complete or will be complete in the next few weeks. This has given us room to be able to help more families.
I am writing to give each and everyone of you the opportunity to help us build a home for Kitty Doby. Walls of Hope donated a studded modular home and set it up on Kitty’s property. She used the Salvation Army Grant of $10,000 to pay for her siding, windows, front and back doors as well as her heating/air system. She has a beautiful house on the outside, however, the inside is just studs.
She needs walls, flooring, ceiling, lights, cabinets, etc. You can see pictures of her house by clicking here.
I would love to be able to surprise her with all of her sheetrock and wiring supplies. I then thought of you all and came up with this idea of “sponsorship”. If you would open your hearts and help provide Kitty with a piece of sheetrock or a foot of wire, I would be so grateful. I went to Lowe’s and found the following pricing information:
- 4×12 sheet of sheetrock is $14.97 – need 110 sheets
- 4×8 sheet of sheetrock is $9.98 – need 150 sheets
- 4×8 sheet of greensheet (for bathrooms) is $12.43 – need 20 sheets
- 12/2 wiring is $0.25 a foot – need 2700 feet
- single gang box is $0.25 – need 48 boxes
- double gang box is $1.86 – need 12 boxes
- 200 amp panel is $122 – need one panel
- 20 amp circuit breakers are $7.84 – need 10
- 15 amp circuit breakers are $2.93 – need 16
- cfi breaker is $35.00 – need 2
- socket panel is $77 – need 1
Your donation is tax deductible when you make your payment to Mission Love Seeds. Please put “Kitty Doby” in the memo line. Send all payments to my attention at:
Mission Love Seeds
179 Saint Paul Street
Biloxi , Mississippi 39530
Thank you all so much for your continued support of rebuilding the Mississippi Gulf Coast . Come visit!!!!
Ginger Bennett, NMT, MT-BC
Allegrow Music, Inc.
I’d like to challenge all of my Kindermusik families, piano students, friends, and colleagues to make a difference in this one person’s life. Buy a couple of pieces of sheetrock ($30). 100 feet of wiring is only $25. If just 27 people donated $25 each, Kitty’s house would be completely wired. Two circuit breakers cost less than $16. My family can go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s and easily spend over $25 for one meal. How many fast-food meals for a family would it take to complete Kitty’s house?
We might not be able to make a difference in large ways individually, but by donating funds collectively for Ginger’s friend, Kitty, we can show that we care and that the Gulf Coast has not been forgotten. These people still need help and I, for one, don’t hear a lot about it any more through the media. My check’s going in the mail tomorrow morning. How about you?
If you’d like to view some of Ginger’s other online albums of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, follow this link. Prepare yourself for complete and utter devastation.