Monday, July 30, 2007

Mississippi Part 4

Felton Pres. June Mississippi Team

Our June Mississippi Team met last night to talk about the last trip and just be together again. It is always interesting to gather together a month or so after and share our experiences. The general consensus was that this was the best trip so far. We talked about the people that we met, the projects that we completed and the feelings that we had about our time together. There weren't too many negative comments about the trip at all. And most everyone asked "So when are we going back?"

I've struggled a little bit with that question. Not because I don't want to go back, believe me, but because I'm concerned about wearing out our sponsors. We've been to Pearlington 3 times in 14 months. We've raised and spent over $40,000.00. Not a dime of that was wasted, yet I'm still a little hesitant to ask the people who sponsored us the last three times to go it again. Especially because costs keep rising. But on the other hand if we don't go to Pearlington to help people rebuild their homes, who is going to do it?

So I started thinking and came up with the following statistics

  • 35 people have spent 18 days working in Pearlington, Mississippi. (People may have gone on multiple trips but were only counted once. The days do not include travel days or days off.)

  • Those 35 people over the course of 18 days have worked about 2,300 hours.

  • We've raised and spent $40,000.00 over the course of three trips. That's an average of $1,143.00 per person.

  • If we were to have been paid as day laborers at $15.00 an hour we would have earned a grand total of $35,000.00.

And then there's this gem of a statistic that we heard while in Pearlington.

  • 95 percent of the work that's being done in the Gulf Coast is being done by faith-based groups.

We have to go back. We have to ask our friends, family, church and community to support us again because we are the ones getting the work done. The government isn't doing it, FEMA isn't doing it. It's groups just like ours who are actually helping people get into homes after losing everything. If we don't go, who will?

My "Thank You" letters are almost ready to be sent to everyone who sponsored me in June and they will soon be followed by another letter saying "Please support our team as we head to Pearlington, Mississippi for the fourth time in December." Though I am hesitant to ask, I will because I know the good that is being done, because I've seen this town start to come to life again, because I know the answer to my own question. If we don't go, no one will.

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