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Who Needs Sheds?


For survivors of Hurricane Katrina, storing salvaged belongings presents a big challenge. Three Christian Reformed churches in De Motte, Ind.—Bethel, Community, and First—were among other northwest Indiana churches who helped meet that need by prefabricating 102 storage sheds to be shipped to Wayland, Miss.

The idea for the sheds originated when a woman in Mississippi talked to volunteers about the need for storage space.

The 6-by-8-foot (2-by-2.5 m) sheds were assembled in Indiana where space was available, volunteers were numerous, and the job could be done quickly. Fifty-five volunteers built more than 100 sheds in four evenings, using space and equipment provided at cost by Kapers Building Material. The $16,000 cost for materials and shipping was covered by area churches.

With more than 44,000 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) trailers housing people in just two Mississippi counties, the need for storage sheds is ongoing. “If the money comes in, we’ll build more sheds,” said Melvin Van Kley.

Bob Gabrielse went to Mississippi with the group’s first work crew right after Thanksgiving. He said, “Three months after the hurricane, it looked like the hurricane had come through yesterday. Homes were still in ruins, pushed off roads.”

Gabrielse said that by the end of March, the volunteer group will have sent its 14th work crew down. “We will keep scheduling as long as we get people to go,” he said.

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