Grassroots Effort To Bring Homeless Hurricane Victims to Madison

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: A grassroots effort is forming to bring some of those displaced by Hurricane Katrina back to Madison.

As Heather Foster and Tina Pellerin watched coverage of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, they realized they wanted to help those people left homeless. They wanted to bring them to Wisconsin.

"They have no more jobs and no more homes. We need to bring them to dry land we need to help our American people," says Tina.

As they started calling around to see who could help and what could be done they ended up at a meeting at Highpoint Church, where people brainstormed how to combine their talents to help those in need.

"I want to do this as a hometown thing. We want to get personal people involved. These people need friends. They need people they can talk to on a regular basis," says Heather.

Word has now gone out that they are looking for people willing to host a family from the south.

"I just hope everybody opens their doors and their hearts and their homes," says Dietrich Gruen of Middleton Outreach Ministry.

Middleton Outreach Ministry is asking each of their 13 churches to find host families. "Ten families per church–among the MOM churches that would be 130 families. That would be my goal in this area–that we could accommodate that many."

Gruen says hosting a family can be a lot of work. "This can be full time work with a lot of emotional needs. You have to learn advocacy, you have to learn cultural divides, you'll be leaned on for a lot of things."

And there's no telling how long your spare bedroom could be occupied. "We don't know the timeline. Two weeks, two months, two years–whatever it takes to get them on their feet, because Louisiana won't be built again in six months," says Tina.

But Gruen says this is a good job for the churches, because faith will be needed. "We have faith that God can move mountains, but often he has to give us a shovel."

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