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September 17, 2005

Reporting out on Katrina

Just a little local update.

Dear Colleagues,

More than 800 families from the Gulf Coast registered at the Gregg Community Center in KCMO where agencies like American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities of Missouri and Kansas, FEMA, Concerned Clergy, Housing Authority, KCMO School District, City of Kansas City and others joined to provide services.

Many families in shelters in cities like Houston have not given up hope of returning to their homes.

Evacuees at the Gregg Center were very patient and very quiet. Most planned to stay in the Kansas City area.

Saturday, Sept. 17 is the last day for operations at the Gregg Center. Later arriving families will be directed to the American Red Cross at 211 W Armour, KCMO 64111 (816) 931 8400. They will be additionally referred to agencies like Catholic Charities.

Beyond the emotional toll, the "startup" costs for families are significant. Imagine getting off a bus in a new city with just an overnight bag.

Catholic Charities of MO and KS have organized a database and phone bank at (816) 221-4377 x 315 to manage:

1. Donations of housing,
2. Volunteers,
3. Churches and other organizations willing to "sponsor" families, and
4. Families who have unmet needs.

Landlords not willing to donate at least 90 days of free rent are asked NOT to call the above number but are invited to register their rental property on one of the many web sites such as socialserve.com/landlord.

The outpouring of generosity has been remarkable. The individual acts of kindness on behalf of New Kansas Citians have been extraordinary.

If you have suggestions and as you hear of the needs of families, please do not hesitate to call Catholic Charities in Missouri or Kansas.

Mark Henke
Catholic Charities, Catholic Community Services
2220 Central Ave
Kansas City KS 66102-4797