Preparations for Disaster Relief Volunteer Work in Alabama
Kentucky Work Group
If you are a volunteer with our group, keep checking this web page for updated
Disaster Relief trips:
26 December-31 December Trip, main trip
31 December-7 January Trip, possible second trip
March or April trip?
Mike Lynch, UK coordinator
859-257-5500 ext 128, cell: 502-229-3433)
Don Chesnut, Presbyterian and others coordinator
home: 859-266-8946, cell: 859-361-5118)
Alabama and Mississippi Contacts:
Burt Hinson, southern Alabama-southern Mississippi disaster relief coordinator,
Southern Alabama Presbytery office (1-800-472-1915). Mr. Hinson assigns
volunteers to work in specific areas of need and assigns housing for volunteers. You do not need to call this person, except in an emergency.
Beth Holsonback, Resource Center Director, Southern Alabama Presbytery office,
Daphne, near Mobile (same office as Mr. Hinson) (work: see phone number above,
home: 251-554-5001). Ms. Holsonback is also a contact for Grace Presbyterian
Church, in case Tracy Bryan can't be reached. You do not need to call this person, except in an emergency.
Tracy Bryan, coordinator for volunteers staying at Grace Presbyterian Church
in Mobile, AL (firstname.lastname@example.org,
251-423-2782) You do not need to call this person, except in an emergency.
Work assignments in Bayou La Batre, AL (City Hall: 251-824-2171).
You do not need to call this number, except in an emergency.
Grace Presbyterian Church, Mobile, AL (251-471-4693)
If we have a small group (<15 people), we will stay at Grace Presbyterian
Church. If larger than 15, we will be divided among several churches, to
Grace Presbyterian Church, 1255 Navco Road, Mobile, AL 36605 (251-471-4693).
this Mapquest link for map and travel directions. Essentially, one takes
the Bluegrass Parkway to Interstate 65; stay on I-65 through Mobile, AL.
You will see the exit for Airport Blvd.first, don't take it, but be prepared
to take the next exit which is Government Blvd. (US 90). It is a two-lane
exit, be in the left lane of the exit lane because you will be making a left
turn onto Government Blvd. After passing under the interstate, take a right
at the second traffic light onto McVay Drive. Turn left at the second traffic
light onto Navco Road. Grace Presbyterian Church is on the right about 0.2-mile
from traffic light. It is the first field that you come to; it has two gravel
drives, park in back of church in field.
Grace Presbyterian Church has a kitchen and refrigerator, bath rooms, two
showers, beds for about 15, a television (no cable or aerial) and VCR, computer
with dial-up internet connection, storage shed, telephone and a nice large
field for throwing frisbees. I will have a couple of small charcoal grills
there if you want to cook out. The members of this church generously provide
their space, bedding, and a well-stocked kitchen for us to use. They also
provide some items to take into the field. They may offer to cook for us,
but I will discourage that; we should cook for ourselves. They will have
breakfast items, sandwich-making materials to take out into the field, and
dinner items. A grocery store, pharmacy and dollar store are within easy
walking distance. We will probably buy some of our food to supplement what
the church has bought. For example, I bought fresh shrimp at a local seafood
market on my last visit.
Mobile has all the grocery stores, department stores, restaurants, gasoline
stations that you could want. If you forget something or need something,
you can buy it in Mobile. Cell phones work well there. Bayou La Batre has
some gas stations, department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. and
more are opening every week. Cell phone coverage was spotty when I was there
in October. Use this
for potential work area in Bayou La Batre.
Get up before daylight (days will be very short at end of December)
Fix your own breakfast (cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, etc) (I'll fix some coffee).
Make and pack your own lunch and take bottled water or thermos of water.
A small cooler might be handy.
Drive to work area (arranged the night before). The trip takes about 30 minutes.
Work. We will be working on individual homes. Get to know the homeowners,
this is the rewarding part. I understand that most of the work will be "mucking
out houses," which means carrying out furniture, tearing up carpeting, tearing
out drywall, etc. Take pictures.
Break for lunch if you want to. In fact, take a break anytime that you feel
you should; we don't want anybody to overdo it; everyone has their own pace.
Some days, we may take a break in the late afternoon, especially if we have
just finished a job. This would be a good time to drive around a look at
the damage done to the area. They had a large storm surge here and if you
drive down Shell Belt Road, you can see lots of commercial fishing boats
washed onto land. Take pictures, but don't be intrusive (you'll know when
Make arrangements for work on the following day.
Drive back to the church, clean up, wind down and relax. Make plans for dinner.
Dinner, either make your own, or with a group, or go out to one of the many
good restaurants in the area. It's up to you. I'll have hot sauce, by the
Evening, watch TV or a video tape (bring your own tapes), send e-mail (slow
dial-up connection), play cards or board games (bring some if you want),
go to movies (there is a large theatre nearby; you'll have to drive), keep
a diary, or what-ever-you want. Be considerate and tolerant of others.
Sleep: men in one part of the church; women in another part. Use a small
flashlight if you have to get up in the middle of the night. If snoring bothers
you, you might consider taking ear plugs.
Get your tetanus vaccination up-to-date*
Consider getting hepatitis vaccination, and an antibiotic prescription (filled
or unfilled; there are pharmacies there).
Extend your cell-phone limits or you will be charged for roaming and
long-distance fees even for local calls. We probably just need one cell-phone
per work-group car.
- you might consider using a web-based e-mail account (e.g. Hotmail) so that you can send e-mails from Mobile
Consider bringing some of the following:
hard-soled boots* (in case you step on a nail embedded in some lumber)
we need a few hardhats and eye protection for those doing serious demolition
respirator masks for those doing a lot of work inside. Mr. Hinson recommends
the 3M #8511 mask that you can buy in the paint sections at most home-improvement
stores. He said they were about $5. I don't thing everyone will need these.
hand sanitizer lotion. You'll want to wash your hands before you eat lunch.
work clothes, socks, etc. Enough for 4-5 days of work.
laundry bag for your funky clothes
sunscreen, mosquito repellent
small flashlight for night
deck of cards, other games, video tapes, if you want
small cooler for lunch and drinks
large wheelbarrows. We could probably use a couple of large wheelbarrows
to be used by our group.
crowbars, wrecking bars, pry bars and some other tools would be useful for
first-aid kit, one per work-group carload
bring printout of phone numbers and maps
patience, tolerance, adaptability, humor
you can always buy things in Mobile if you forget something.
It will be like camp. It should be rewarding and fun. Drive safely. We'll
meet at the church in Mobile.