Manchester sends two teams South
for spring break to help
with Katrina cleanup and renewal
Two teams of Manchester College students are spending their spring break
in the sunny South – but they’re not tanning on the beaches or partying
hearty through the night.
The students are in Mississippi and New Orleans, helping with Hurricane
Katrina cleanup – joining an estimated 10,000 college students mucking
out houses and building anew.
The MC Habitat for Humanity chapter has spent its last 19 spring breaks
in the South, building homes. This week, 17 MC students and two faculty
members are in Meridian, Miss., where they will build two to four homes,
said Brad Yoder, professor of sociology and social work, who is making
his 17th Habitat trip.
At the same time, 17 MC students, four staff members and a spouse are
helping needy New Orleans residents – clearing the muck and mold,
gutting houses for restoration, picking up neighborhoods. That team is
with Operation Helping Hands, a volunteer program of Catholic Charities
Archdiocese of New Orleans to help residents reoccupy their homes.
Both teams left North Manchester on Saturday, March 18, and will head
back this Saturday. The Habitat students are staying in Trinity
Presbyterian Church in Meridian, on air mattresses and sleeping bags.
The New Orleans team are staying in a FEMA camp run by the military,
across the Mississippi River from the downtown.
Why such dedication? “Because the security of having your own personal
space is so important to families, we should do everything we can to
help,” said Yoder, of North Manchester.
In New Orleans, the team is removing appliances, furniture, damaged
walls, ceilings, wiring ... and then sanitizing the houses to kill
bacteria. They may encounter snakes; they will encounter biting
bugs and filth.
Sunday, MC grad Mark Stahl took the team on a tour of New Orleans “to
witness Katrina’s indiscriminate destruction of all kinds of
neighborhoods.” Stahl, an assistant dean and director for Metropolitan
College of the University of New Orleans, has returned to Manchester
twice since the hurricane to talk to students about the need for help.
“I'm sure the tour gave them some perspective
on the enormous amount of work to be done here and I hope it served to
make them all feel very good about the contribution they will make this
week,” he said.
On the New Orleans team: Zach
Reichert of Granger, Ind.; Don Lawson of Anderson, Ind.;
Adam Stokes of Greenwood, Ind; Nicole Hammond
of Mishawaka, Ind.; Melissa Weirich of Middlebury, Ind.; Kevin Phelps of
Brookston, Ind.; Chris Cosner of Riverbank, Calif.; Janaki Soman of
Singapore; Bruce Orr of
Bristol, Ind.; Stephanie Mishler of Goshen, Ind.; Cassie Franks of
Warsaw, Ind.; Stacey Carmichael of
South Bend, Ind; Anna Simons of Granger, Ind.; Jon Stauffer of Polo,
Ill.; Colleen Hamilton; Farida Adam of North Manchester and
Joshua Sollenberger of Annville,
Pa.; Joining the trip are MC staff members Jake Reid of North
Manchester; Doug Campbell of North Manchester; Sonia Smith of North
Manchester; Dan Chudzynski of Rochester and his wife Kendra.
On the Habitat team: Kristen Betzner of Peru, Ind.; Jeanna
Collins of Bourbon, Ind.; Kristen Davidson of
Greenville, Ohio; Ashley Davis of Logansport, Ind.; Rebecca Flanders of
Ada, Mich.; Aimee Gerdes of Mishawaka; Hani Ghazi of Jerusalem; Whitney
Gray of Pendleton, Ind.; Nicole Hammond of Mishawaka, Ind.; Ming-Du Kang of Taipei; Jonathan Largent of
Muncie, Ind.; Laura Lovelace of Chino Hills, Calif.; Amanda Nordman of
North Manchester; Meganmarie Pinkerton of Trotwood, Ohio; Akari Sakurai
of Japan; Jeremy Stackhouse of Hamilton, Ind.; Caroline Strahammer of
Monroe, Ind.; and Caryn Webster of New Paris, Ind. Joining the trip is
Jongsoo James Lee of North Manchester, assistant professor of history
and political science.
Manchester, a Church of the Brethren college, has a heritage of service.
Last school year, students recorded
more than 10,780 volunteers hours.