Help Us Serve Humanity
December 2005 Katrina Project

From 26 December 2005 to 1 January 2006 seven inner city teenagers led by five adults, members of the 8th Infantry Illinois National Guard Association, traveled to Mississippi to help the survivors of Katrina.

This trip was made possible through the generous donations of the following organizations to whom we owe a debt of gratitiude.

Our Supporters
Chicago Defender Charities , Inc.
Woodstock Morning Rotary Club

Photo Albums
The trip to Mississippi
At Sophia Sutton Mission
At Gateway Mission
At Gulfport Mississippi

Trip Chronology

Monday 26 December 2005

Our Katrina Project Team assembled at the home of Dian Ruben-Newburn, loaded our gear into one of 3 vehicles and began our journey to Prentiss Mississippi. Our route used Interstate 57 to Interstate 55. After a hard day of driving we elected to spend the night at a motel rather than risk driving at night on unknown county roads to a place we had never been before.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

The next morning we continued on Interstate 55 then onto U.S. 49 exiting onto Mississippi State Route 13. We were met on Route 13 by Randolph Dampeer who guided us to Sophia Sutton Mission Assembly P.O. Box 1003 Prentiss, Mississippi 39474.

After unloading we conducted a reconnaissance of the grounds of the Mission and picked work assignments.

The Mission had received wind damage from Katrina and several buildings needed a thorough cleaning including the space we would be sleeping in.


Our team spent the rest of the day cleaning living quarters while Willie Walton led a team to the local grocery store for food and supplies.

Tuesday 27 December 2005

After breakfast and morning formation we separated into two work teams. One team went to the Gateway Mission in Pearl to assist them and assess requirements. The rest of the team spent the day cleaning out two of the Sophia Mission buildings that had suffered damage.

Willie Walton met with Mr. Hatten to inspect and discuss damage to Sophia Mission buildings.

Wednesday 28 December 2005

Our entire team loaded up and went to the Gateway Mission in Pearl Mississippi to assist them.


The Gateway Mission Thrift store accepts donations of clothing, furniture, appliances and nearly anything else you can imagine.

The items arrive and are unloaded from the donors vehicle and taken into a cavernous warehouse. Inside the items are sorted and inspected. Items are put on display for sale in the store at the front of the building.

The cardboard boxes are collapsed, crushed together and bundled for shipment to a recycling center.

Thursday 29 December 2005

Our entire team loaded up and went to the Gateway Mission in Pearl Mississippi to again assist them in handling donations.

Dr. James E. Wells, Director Sophia Sutton Mission Assembly stopped by in the evening to speak to our team. He gave us an overview of the history of Sophia Sutton as well as thanking us for taking the time to come to Mississippi to help.

Friday 30 December 2005

We drove to Gulfport Mississippi to survey damage from Katrina. Charles Hatten had contacted his brother in law Mr. Buckley who met us in Gulfport and proceeded to give us a guided tour of the heavily damaged areas.

One site visited was the church Mr. Buckley attends. Its roof had been torn off by the storm and the interior of the church had been heavily damaged. They are still in the process of getting the roof put back on.

Saturday 31 December 2005

We worked for one half the day at the Gateway Mission. They were nearly overwhelmed by the generous end of year donations they received. Our team made a big difference in helping Gateway handle the load.

In the afternoon we began the process of cleaning and packing up.

Sunday 1 January 2006

On New Years Day our team loaded up and began a long days drive back to Chicago.