Heartland Organizations Open Hurricane Victims’ Shelter

Heartland Organiztions Open Hurricane Victims' Shelter
By: Lauren Keith

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --Here at Heartland News, we’ve seen an outpouring of support, from many of you, for Hurricane Katrina victims. Plus, many of these people have taken refuge in Heartland hotels, especially inSoutheast Missouri. Still, folks living here also want to open their own homes to these “now-homeless” families.  So, the American Red Cross and the Southern Baptist Association has now opened an official shelter for these refugees. It’s at the Charleston Baptist Association Camp in Charleston, Missouri. As these organizations open this temporary shelter, they do warn you---not to open your own home because there are people out there who will take advantage of your heartfelt gesture.

"I recommend they don't do that. It can be dangerous. Instead send them to the Red cross, where we have the means to verify they are hurricane victims, and we can give them help, too," says Director Mary Burton.

At the Cape office, phone calls pour in from concerned Heartland citizens offering to host hurricane victims, but Burton claims there are many risks involved, if you do this.
"If that person gets hurt in your home, you'll be liable for them," claims Burton.

So, she advises if you do want to help--- don't open your home--- or even gather supplies--- instead, she says, empty your wallet, because cash won't perish or spoil. 

“Even if we don't have much funds, it's crazy to go back," says Belinda Chatman of Boutee, Louisiana.
Cash will certainly help Chatman’s Louisiana family.  Since Sunday, the Chatmans stayed in a cape hotel, but now they're out of money.

They're also certainly grateful for the shelter, food, and even toys they've found at the Red Cross.

"We left behind many things, but we have our lives. Some of our family still there will be okay, and the people in this town have been so friendly," said Chatman.

For more information on the new hurricane victims’ shelter in MississippiCounty, call the American Red Cross in Cape Girardeau at (573) 335-9471.