Monday – April 27, 2015

The day started out early as we had to be at the St. Bernard Project (SBP) headquarters for an 8:00 am orientation meeting. As we sat down to get ready for the meeting, another team of volunteers came in and we soon learned they came from Nashua NH! We always seem to meet someone from the northeast while we are down here. Two volunteer coordinators gave us a quick overview of the history and purpose of SBP. We were then introduced to Ms. Patricia – one of the many people that SBP has helped over the past 10 years. Ms. Patricia was an older woman with some physical limitations and was wheelchair bound. She was displaced by hurricane Katrina and was forced to “couch surf” at the homes of friends and family since her home had been ruined by the storm. This was not easy on her, nor her friends. “SBP gave me back my life and a place to live” said Ms. Patricia. “My life has changed drastically as well as everyone’s who knows me.” “Volunteers are changing people’s lives by giving us back our homes.”

Everyone was moved by Ms. Patricia’s comments as it reaffirmed the reasons we come down here. Just before we left for the worksite, we were fortunate to meet the founders of SBP, Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney. They also thanked us for coming down to help with the ongoing efforts to rebuild homes for those displaced by the storm as well as efforts to provide affordable “opportunity houses” for low-to-moderate-income families.

For the first work day, we were assigned to a home in eastern New Orleans on New England Drive. This particular home was a partial rebuild – meaning only parts of the home were being repaired rather than a complete gut and restoration. The team jumped right into tasks such as mudding, sanding walls, grouting one of the showers, painting and general cleaning. The house is nearly finished and should be ready for the owner soon!

We finished off the day with a great meal of shepherds pie and salad followed by evening devotions. Donna, Charles and RJ Bolian joined us as we talked about being mindful of our environment and of those around us so that we can be more aware of ways to be of service. We shared prayers and concerns of the group and then closed the evening with a prayer.

Although there were some big thunderstorms going through the area most of the day, our spirits remained high and we had a very successful day. Just as we all have dark days in our lives, the spirit of Jesus was with us and made the day brighter as we all worked together in His service.

Peace to all,