Written by Phyllis Richards
New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods, Mid-city, Treme, Gentilly, Lakeview, and others. After Hurricane Katrina, neighborhoods continue to be an integral part of the make up of the city. As residents contemplate their future, they are concerned about whether their neighborhood will come back. The city government said that neighborhoods and neighborhood associations would be a key in revitalizing the city. Since the storm, neighbors have been coming together in new and different ways to bring their neighborhoods and the city back to life.
For over a year now, there have been many people who have volunteered their time through the United Church of Christ offices of National Disaster Ministries and Volunteer Ministries. From October 2005 through October 2006 - 1,172 short-term volunteers comprising 106 work groups have spent time cleaning, hauling, painting, repairing, roofing, and other jobs in response to the disaster. There were also 10 long-term volunteers who stayed in New Orleans for 1 month or more providing assistance. As of December 1, 2006, there are already 65 groups or 976 persons who have scheduled opportunities to help their neighbors in New Orleans in 2007.
A neighbor is a person that cares about another person. It doesn’t matter that they live 1,000 miles away in a storm ravaged area. UCCChurch members from all over the country have come to the aid of their neighbors in New Orleans. They may not have known them before, but those that have met and worked together in cleaning out a home have established a bond of love, compassion and caring. Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor as our self.” It is easy to look at a person’s home and say, “This could be my home. This is my neighbor, my brother or sister in Christ. How can I help? ” The rebuilding continues, neighbor helping neighbor.