Athens Church Holds Labor Day Celebration For Hurricane Evacuees

This Labor Day was not a day of leisure for volunteers at one East Texas church. They were hard at work trying to give Hurricane Katrina evacuees a holiday to enjoy.

Amid the happy atmosphere, there were many heartbreaking stories of those who survived the hurricane. "I'm just so glad that we were rescued. We just saw bodies floating at the Convention Center. We were walking over dead children, old people, sick people, just bodies everywhere," said Jacquelyn LeBostrie, with tears streaming down her face.

About 150 people volunteered at the Church of the Living God in Athens to make this Labor Day a pleasant experience for evacuees in East Texas. "God says you're supposed to help people and we're helping people in need," said Beverly Turner, a volunteer at today's event.

"If they wouldn't have came to pick us up, we didn't know what we were gonna do for food," said LeBostrie. The outpouring from the Athens community is providing for our new neighbors. There were free haircuts and perms available and evacuees even got to pick shoes and clothes from a room filled with donated items.

"This is the best. It's like we died and went to heaven, because where we were it wasn't no good place," said Barbara Walker. This same feeling was expressed by all of the evacuees we spoke with. "I'm grateful for this community that has accepted us," said LeBostrie. "We're grateful. We have life and we're going to build a new life somewhere else. We're strong."

Oralia Ortega, reporting.