Gulfport, Miss., Battered but Not Forgotten as Samaritan’s Purse Helps Overwhelmed Storm Victims

Franklin Graham to Travel to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama Thursday and Friday to Assess On-the-Ground Relief Work

While drops of rain quickly turned into a downpour, 74-year-old Sarah Lampley stood in the street in front of her modest Gulfport, Missippi, home, with tears welling up in her eyes as she began hugging surprised Samaritan's Purse volunteers. 

Hurricane Katrina's furious winds ripped large holes in Lampley's roof. Since the storm, rain like this is what she had feared most. But that fear now turned into overwhelming relief thanks to the prompt response of the Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief Unit. The staff and volunteer crews had just finished repairing and weatherproofing the roof when the rain started falling.

"The ceiling in my garage had already fallen in, and my living room was looking real angry, with big, wet stains on the ceiling. If any more rain came in, I know it would have caved in," Lampley said. "My son is disabled and lives with me, my daughter and her family lost their place in the storm and are staying here, plus my health hasn't been too good lately. If we had to move out of my house, I don't know what we would have done. This is just such a blessing."

These are the stories that motivate Samaritan's Purse volunteers and staff, including Franklin Graham, who will be on the ground Thursday and Friday in the three-state devastation zone where the relief organization that he leads is currently working. Graham will assess the ever-changing needs of the communities in Gulfport and Biloxi, Missippi, and Mobile, Alabama, and will visit some of the neighborhoods where Samaritan's Purse crews have determined that the damage is severe, but emergency repairs are still possible. Disaster relief teams are using durable plastic sheeting to patch ruined roofs and clear trees, mud, and other debris to help storm victims return to their homes and feel like there is a reason to hope.

Graham will also visit Shreveport, Louisiana, where Samaritan's Purse is setting up medical clinics and sending doctors and other medical personnel to assist displaced individuals and families from New Orleans. The relief organization is also distributing goods collected in North Carolina, including personal hygiene items, baby items, bedding, and underwear.

MEDIA NOTE: Use the following information to add Samaritan's Purse to your list of ways people can help:

  • Give: Donations keep our trucks stocked and volunteers supplied (plastic to cover a typical roof costs $90). Donations can be made at samaritanspurse.org or at (800) 567-8183.

  • Volunteer: Hundreds of workers will be needed over the coming weeks. If a team of at least five individuals would like to volunteer or if a church would like to organize and schedule a work team, register online at samaritanspurse.org. Doctors or medical personnel interested in serving can email wmminfo@samaritan.org.

  • Churches: Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham has challenged every church in the Southeast to take in 10 families for at least three months to help the storm victims get back on their feet. The Samaritan's Purse website, samaritanspurse.org, offers guidance on how churches can join the effort.

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