Manassas Journal Messenger | Manassas church helps Katrina victims

RELATED Katrina’s aftermath

It’s a state of emergency for many surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and one local church is trying to help those people find relief.

Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manassas began a relief collection Tuesday afternoon in the church’s Great Hall, where people donated everything from clothing to food to personal hygiene products.

Congregation member Dave Warner, who is spearheading the drive, said the church plans to fill two 26-foot  rental trucks, with one scheduled to leave for the Mobile, Ala.-area Thursday morning. The other is leaving Friday morning for a shelter in Shreveport, La.

He said he has a sister who lives in Mobile and a brother in Houston, and this personal connection made him want to help.

“It’s kind of a combination family reunion trip, (while doing) good works along the way,” he said.

Warner said the church is working in conjunction with the American Red Cross, the Give Life Foundation and churches in the Mobile area.

“The Bethel church community has been very responsive,” Warner said. “And whatever Manassas can do (to help) is great.”

The truck rentals are being funded through private donations and the Give Life Foundation, Warner said.

Warner and the church’s pastor, Michael Tassler, are driving the first truck to the Mobile, which Warner said is about a 24-hour drive. The Give Life Foundation’s president, Pat Hughes, is driving the second truck, Warner said.

Tassler said he thinks the “word is getting out” about the church’s relief efforts, as people began donating items early Tuesday morning.

“We all felt kind of helpless because we didn’t know where to send things (for relief),” said church member Dianne Rice of Manassas.

Rice, who works at Prince William Hospital, said she’s been recruiting some of her coworkers to donate items as well. She said the hospital is also collecting items to send to hurricane victims.

Some items requested include cases of water and juice, canned goods, diapers, soap, toilet paper and blankets.

“The biggest thing to think about is what I would want if I didn’t have anything,” said Reston resident Drew Banister.

The church is collecting and sorting donations from 2 to 8 p.m. every day through Friday.

“But if it were up to me, I would do this all the time until everything was fixed,” Warner said.

RELATED Katrina’s aftermath

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