Small East Texas Church Lending A Big Helping Hand To Evacuees - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/6/05-Brownsboro

Small East Texas Church Lending A Big Helping Hand To Evacuees

On the outside it looks like just another church. Inside is a testament to the community helping their fellow man. "It's so overwhelming for one church, everybody's joining in," says Pastor Tobey Clements of Calvary Baptist Church.

The congregation and the community are joining in daily to give evacuees breakfast, lunch and dinner, served and eaten at the church's fellowship hall. Church offices are now supply closets, filled with an array of essentials at a person's fingertips.

"All the supplies are coming. People are giving out of their hearts. They're coming in and they're bringing more than what we need sometimes," says Pastor Clements. As many as 80 evacuees have stayed at this small town community shelter but that number is decreasing. Families have been able to connect with lost relatives. While the reunion is a joyous occasion, others haven't been so lucky.

"I don't know I just wish it was a dream," says Danyell Fox with tears streaming down her eyes. While evacuating New Orleans, Danyell was separated from her two children, only one and six-years-old.

"Now I don't even know where they are! I don't even know if my son is dead or alive," says Danyell crying. New Orleans native Lisa Slaughter-Spencer hasn't seen or held her newborn grand-daughter in nearly two weeks. "Like I said we're blessed to be here. If we can survive [the conditions we lived in before], we can survive everything. We just need to know where our loved ones are," says this emotional grandmother.

Every heartbreaking story is followed by an embrace... and then hopefully a smile. Gestures that prove this small East Texas shelter has become, for evacuees, the calm after the storm.

The shelter at Calvary Baptist Church has around 50 evacuees. They plan on keeping the shelter open as long as there is a need.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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