Trip to Biloxi

I received an email today from a friend of mine, it was really moving. She spent her Thanksgiving in Biloxi, Mississippi helping with the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Her email shows how important it is to volunteer and how much we can actually do. Click ‘more’ to read the email:


Hey Guys,

These are some pics that one of the girls on our trip to Biloxi, MS took. I hope you all take these pictures in and understand that this is what it looks like STILL. Almost no different than the day after the storm. (Images from Biloxi, MS)


Original Email:

To All Of You,

So sorry for the mass e-mail, but I wanted to tell you all about my most recent experience over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hands on America A group of 14 of us headed out to Biloxi, MS for 10 days to work with a volunteer group, Hands On USA, on recovery efforts from Katrina. For myself and the others that went, it was a life changing experience. We saw such devestation there, it was like the storm had just hit not long ago. It is hard to imagine that it was 3 months ago.

We volunteered on many different things such as gutting homes. This was a very difficult task as it was entering these peoples homes, throwing out ALL of their belongings on to the side of the street and then tearing down the walls to a bare minimum. It was hard labor, but such good work. These people are able to eventually rebuild inside these homes. With out the help of volunteers, this would not be possible. Many people are now living in FEMA trailers or in tents. It is heart breaking to see these amazing survivors battle everyday with their environment.

We also went to the humane society and walked many rescued dogs and played with the cats. If you are looking to adopt, rescued dogs out there are looking for good homes. So much personality and spunk in all of them.

Hands on America We also did work with what we called the “Street Team.” The first part of the day we would deliver supplies to people who ordered them. It is amazing, they need simple things, or don’t even need anything. It really makes you think about all the tangibles in your home that you really don’t need. The second half of the day we would walk the streets and just simply talk to people. We would hear their stories or survival, how they rode out the storm. Or we would just listen to anything else they wanted to talk about. And each and every person was so grateful to have an ear to hear them.

So many other opportunities to volunteer out there. I worked with the tree crew one day. We cut down a tree, safely, that would have otherwise crushed this womans home to the ground. The tree damage out there is unbelieveable and will be around for years to come.

I want to share my story with as many people as possible because I think it is important to spread the word, and let people know that although the news has stopped reporting it, doesn’t mean that things are all better. That is FAR from the truth.

Hands on America I am having a very hard time adjusting to my safe and normal life, now that I am back. I will be living my life much simpler. And realizing the things that are most important to me. You, my friends and family. Please, if you ever have a chance to volunteer, for any organization, please do…you really do make a difference.

I hope to have pictures to send out via e-mail, but if you are around, I do have prints you can look at.

Thank you for listening, and to all of you who have supported our efforts to get out there.

Laurie Starr
Laurie Starr\

Laurie Starr volunteering with Hands On America

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