Hurricane donations taken today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2005

The Rev. Dr. Vaurice Chambers has spent many a Sunday worshipping in Main Street Baptist Church in Biloxi, Miss.

Chambers, pastor of Pleasant Union Baptist for more than three decades, will be making another trip to his home church soon. This time though, he will go armed with truckloads of much-needed donations to help Biloxi residents begin to rebuild their lives.

Chambers and Lue Ward, publisher the regional magazine, Having Church, will be collecting items for Hurricane Katrina victims from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today at Mike Duman Auto Body Shop, 2211 N. Main St.

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Chambers, whose family members lost their homes in the flood-ravaged city, said the community is in dire need of all sorts of items: non-perishable foods, shoes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, toys and games, kitchen utensils, Pampers and water.

&uot;Everything but clothes,&uot; Chambers said. &uot;The pastor down there said they have been overrun with clothing donations.&uot;

Bicycles are proving to be particularly welcome contributions, he added. Many residents lost their vehicles in the floodwaters and are using the bikes to commute to their jobs – if they are fortunate enough to have jobs left.

Using vans donated by Mike Duman, Chambers and Ward will be transporting the collected items to the Biloxi church for distribution to residents in the city.

Financial contributions are also being accepted, Ward added.

Checks can be made to Pleasant Union Baptist Church, with Katrina Relief noted on the memo line. All contributions will be deposited into a special account set up for the fundraising effort, he said.

Ward said he is hoping to raise upwards of $6,000.

Ward, who has had an affinity for Mississippi for years, initiated the relief efforts after seeing the media coverage of Katrina’s devastation. In recent weeks, he has contacted more than three dozen churches throughout the city and asked pastors to make their congregations aware of his plans.

The news media seemed to focus on New Orleans, Chambers said.

&uot;But there are little communities nearby that were completely wiped out,&uot; he said. &uot;Those people also need help.&uot;

Many contributions are being funneled through national disaster relief agencies. But by delivering it to the church for distribution, Ward believes the people in need will have quicker access to the items.

Anyone wanting to make a tax-deductible contribution can send checks to Pleasant Union Baptist Church, Re: Hurricane Katrina, 215 Webb St., Suffolk, Va. 23434.