Friday, March 11, 2011

Mission Trip to New Orleans

Almost six years have gone by since Hurricane Katrina struck. During that time Emmanuel Church of Newport has sponsored four mission trips to the Gulf Coast to help with the rebuilding efforts. Those trips and an upcoming trip, scheduled for April 16-23, would not be possible without the generosity of many caring people. A recent letter to the editor in the Newport Daily News from Meghan Dutton of Emmanuel Church provides details of the situation in New Orleans today and of the recent greathearted response within the Aquidneck Island community.

We rarely hear about New Orleans in the news any more, yet there are still 43,000 abandoned homes left after Hurricane Katrina and an estimated 11,000 homeless - the nation's highest number per capita, according to UNITY (a non-profit organization, who provides housing and services for the homeless in New Orleans). There have been many rebuilding successes over the past years in New Orleans, yet there is still much work that needs to be done and many people who are in great need.

Richard Sardella and Patrick Fitzgerald, owners of Sardella’s Restaurant, were so gracious as to allow our group of volunteers to have a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to help us fundraise for our April mission trip to New Orleans. We raised approximately $5,000 which will help with the expenses associated with our trip. This will be Emmanuel Church’s fifth trip to the Gulf Coast. We will work for Habitat for Humanity and Episcopal Community Services - both organizations are helping to re-build the city and help those who have been forgotten. Thanks to Richard Sardella, Patrick Fitzgerald, the Rogers High School Jazz Band members: William Chilton, Chase Ceglie, and Devon Mello, local businesses who donated items for the silent auction, and to everyone who participated in our fundraising efforts.

Thanks to your generosity we are able to go back and continue with the re-building efforts, and to diminish the hunger, and emptiness, that so many people were left with in New Orleans, after Katrina. I am not sure if words can truly express our gratitude for living in such a community as the one we have here in Newport - having so many people come together to help those who have lost so much.

Our Senior Warden at St Paul's will be participating in the April mission trip with the Emmanuel Church team and there is still an opportunity for you to help as well. Donations are still being accepted and can be mailed to Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn St., Newport, RI 02840. Checks may be payable to Emmanuel Church and earmarked for the New Orleans mission trip.

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