Within a day, the local American Red Cross chapter transformed Calvary Baptist Church on Ridgeway Avenue into a shelter for Hurricane Katrina refugees. Red Cross organizers couldn’t provide estimates on Saturday of how many people have sought help at the shelter since it opened Thursday night, but Frank Barfield, a volunteer member of the local Red Cross board of directors, said 23 refugees have been sleeping in the shelter.
Nearly 30 members of a family that evacuated from New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina hit were not sure they had place to stay Friday when they headed to Columbia. By evening they had food, a roof over the heads and beds to sleep in thanks to the coordinating efforts of the First Ward Ambassadors. Nathan Stephens, ambassador of public relations, said the First Ward group secured food from local pizza restaurants and rooms at two Columbia hotels within hours of hearing the family was coming.
Learn how to be a smart donor with our comprehensive guide to researching charities.
Missouri Task Force 1, redeployed Friday after security concerns prompted the mayor of New Orleans to order them to pull out, was combing a previously unsearched residential neighborhood in the northeast part of the city. Thirty-eight members of the task force are working in New Orleans. They were working with Colorado Task Force 1 to search Church Street Branch, which is bordered on the north by Lake Pontchartrain and on the south by Chef Menteur Highway. They were scheduled to move into the midtown area known as Canal Street on Saturday.
As organizations and people throughout Columbia pitch in for hurricane relief, the city of Columbia’s Fire, Public Works and Water and Light departments are pursuing opportunities to help. The city could send as many as four firefighters and four sanitation workers so long as city code allows, City Manager Ray Beck said Friday.
Calvary Baptist Church of Columbia has become a supply post for hurricane refugees. The Boone County Chapter of the American Red Cross opened a temporary shelter Thursday evening at the church.
Army Reserve family members and soldiers affected by Hurricane Katrina now have a way to contact the Army Reserve through a newly created call center. The toll-free number for the center is (877)-464-9330, or from a military phone DSN 367-9330. Phones were to be manned 24 hours a day beginning at noon Friday. Operators will take down information to help deployed Army Reserve soliders determine the status and whereabouts of family members affected by the storm and to determine whether they need further assistance.
The Boone County Office of Emergency Management in Columbia is relaying rescue information related to Hurricane Katrina to the U.S. Coast Guard. Since the disaster struck Monday, the office has received more than 20 calls from local residents with information about hurricane victims in need of emergency rescue.
Missouri officials are seeking unoccupied housing in attempt to provide shelter to Katrina refugees. “We are doing a survey right now of developers, but so far it looks like we have identified 267 units throughout Missouri that would be available,” said Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who is also chairman of the Missouri Housing Development Commission.
Westminster College in Fulton will open 20 spots to students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Westminster admissions director Kelle Silvey said the college will cover tuition and housing for up to 20 affected students.
When Business Network International member John Corn of Columbia won a $95 cash prize during a drawing at the group’s Wednesday meeting, he decided to donate it to hurricane relief. The network will match the prize, resulting in a donation of $190. Corn is a member of BNI’s Columbia Referral Network Chapter, which meets weekly at the Lenoir Woods Conference Center.
Many local organizations, businesses and individuals are either contributing to hurricane relief or providing ways for area residents to help. Here’s a list. The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations. Donations earmarked “Disaster Relief” can be made online at salvationarmyusa.org, by calling 442-3229 or by mailing a donation to Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1864, Columbia, Mo. 65205.
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos. The tired and hungry seethed, saying they had been forsaken. “I’m not sure I’m going to get out of here alive,” said Canadian tourist Larry Mitzel, who handed a reporter his business card in case he goes missing. “I’m scared of riots. I’m scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire.”