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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Hurricane response close to home

Water levels rose as the effects of Hurricane Katrina left its devastation on August 29. Chaos ensued as locals from New Orleans fled to the Superdome, then to Houston, Texas? Astrodome. Newsrooms across the nation broadcast the immense devastation in the South with reports of mass destruction, deaths, and spreading risks of disease.

Nearly 1800 miles away from Fresno?s warm and dry weather, remains the moist, humid, and destroyed city of New Orleans. The largest city in Louisiana originally settled by the French, provides the home for football?s Sugar Bowl and music?s Jazz Fest.
Popular for its blues music, jazz funerals, flavorful jambalaya, and Mardi Gras celebrations, the culturally mixed area now lies in ruins.

As New Orleans began to dry up, the levies broke refilling the town with water. As hurricane season continued, Hurricane Rita added to the troubles of the evacuees. Those who found solace in Houston now had to once again leave.

The city of Fresno readily welcomes 400 families from the flooded areas to seek refuge in Fresno?s agricultural wealth. Mayor Alan Autry called a meeting with the local pastors, the Red Cross, and other charity organizations to address the steps to action needed to prepare for the arrival of the 400.

The evacuees have many physical needs as well as emotional needs that can be met by the personal relationships formed through these organizations and churches. Resolution of the discussion of how to accommodate the 400 concludes with housing the evacuees temporarily in Selland Arena. Then by establishing involvement in the ?Adopt a Family? program.

Fresno Christian also desires to involve in this program, encouraging families to open their homes to those in need. The Adopt a Family program provides a long-term contribution to the present needs.

Already responses to Adopt a Family have been initiated through math teacher Ericlee Gilmore?s connections. A family from the New Orleans area has already enrolled their kids in the elementary.

Vice Principal Jon Endicott?s acquaintances in the Houston area creates a closer link to the disaster stricken people. Endicott?s brother is a worship leader at a local Houston church called Gloria Dei. Already they have been encouraged by the answers to the solemn calls for help.

Due to its gulf coast location, New Orleans plays an important role in the petroleum industry. Hurricane Katrina?s destruction did not exclude this valuable resource.

The urgent need is for prepaid gas cards from Chevron, Shell, Exxon, and similar stations so that families may drive back to their homes to survey the damage or collect the rest of their belongings. There is a lack of gas cards in the Houston area, so outside help is needed. Once enough have been collected they will be shipped overnight to Texas.

?I encourage students to go online and check out the personal stories on Gloria Dei?s website,? Endicott said. ?It will change your perspective. We?ve been given so much.?

Many people reacted with the same compassion and desire to help those left in the watery rubble of both Hurricane Rita and Katrina. Here on campus numerous efforts initiated by students and faculty alike strive to make a difference.

?Our job is not only to serve the student body, but serve people across the country,? student body treasurer April Fujihara, ?06, said.

The student leadership started a competition between the classes to see who collects the most money. The motivation for the giving was sparse in the beginning. In response to the lackluster attitudes, the familiar song of ?Mmmbop? by the 90?s trio Hanson plays continually during breaks and lunch.

?Nobody was giving,? Shaun O?Neil,?07, said. ?I think that after about four weeks the song will work.?

Some controversy surrounds the recent musical stimulus as a mystery note was found in a money collection jar. Adamant responses followed the complaints.

?No matter how noble your cause people donating because they want serenity should not be called a donation,? an unknown source said.

?It is wrong for people to complain,? Bethany Morton, ?06, said. ?If their entire life was stripped away in a blink of an eye wouldn?t you be grateful for someone to give you money??

Throughout the week and persistently throughout the months ahead, the school will be collecting money donations and gas cards. Currently the school has collected $760 to send to Gloria Dei.

To get involved here are a few organizations to contact:
Alan Doswald with ESA Love Inc. at 244-0105
Jon Endicott?s office at 299-1695, ext. 126 or [email protected]

American Red Cross, Fresno Madera Chapter
Chief Executive Officer Ellen Schneider
N. Fine Ave. Fresno, CA 93727
Tel. 559-455-1000
Fax. 559-458-7338
[email protected]

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