WASHINGTON (September 12, 2005)—The seven dioceses and seven Catholic Charities offices in the state of Florida have adopted the two dioceses in the state of Mississippi, the Diocese of Biloxi and the Diocese of Jackson, to help provide ongoing disaster relief efforts.
Staff and volunteers of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami and Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of Venice and Pensacola and the Florida Catholic Conference have been on-site in Mississippi since September 5. Catholic Charities in Florida is providing the technical assistance, staffing and infra-structure in the Biloxi Diocese for disaster relief efforts. The following work has taken place:
Diocese of Biloxi
* Assessments made of the devastated areas
* Plans enacted to open Disaster Recovery Sites
* Warehouses (parish properties) and equipment located
* Ongoing coordination with Mississippi State Emergency Management System established
* Over 5,000 food drop-offs to families have taken place in devastated areas of Biloxi and Gulfport
* Ten Catholic parishes set up as distribution sites, receiving shipments of supplies for needy families. Those sites are in Biloxi, Gulfport, Columbia, Tylertown, Lucedale, Pascagoula, Wiggins, Delisle, Moss Point and Hattiesburg.
* Shipments of supplies being received from around the country.
* Facilitating coordination of recovery efforts with Catholic parishes
* Planning to de-contaminate and re-open a warehouse to eventually be the distribution site for long-term needs
Diocese of Jackson
* Providing technical assistance to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Jackson
* Assist local Catholic Charities in coordinating relief efforts with Catholic parishes and other community and faith based groups, especially focusing on the 50,000+ displaced residents that are now in Jackson
* Helping facilitate the State warehouse which is receiving supplies from around the country and routing them to needed areas throughout the state
* Florida church state-wide disaster coordinator is working on-site at Mississippi Emergency Management Operations center and helping to route needed supplies to Diocese of Biloxi
* Hattiesburg area being serviced by Catholic Charities of Jackson
Catholic Charities of Florida will staff and provide disaster relief efforts in Mississippi and especially in the Diocese of Biloxi for up to three more weeks. Staff and volunteers from all seven Catholic Charities agencies in Florida will be rotating in and out.
Travel, locating gas, working conditions and lodging are extremely difficult. The Florida agencies are being assisted by the Diocese of Mobile, Alabama which has provided Florida staff with over-night accommodations in the Seton Retreat Center for up to 40 people for as long as needed. Each morning the staff travels over one hour to Biloxi.
Catholic Charities USA provided initial grants to Jackson and Biloxi Dioceses of $110,000 each and will be providing additional financial support as the recovery efforts continue.