Temporary change: Quick Takes is giving up its space this week to make room for a different kind of off-beat news that we will call Quick Helps. On this page you'll find just a few of the thousands of examples from around the country of how Christians are responding well to the crisis of Hurricane Katrina.
Shelter at Calvary
Calvary Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo., opened the doors of its gymnasium last week for up to 20 Katrina refugees. The church registered to become a Red Cross shelter site only three months ago, and most of the volunteers are church members with no Red Cross training. Refugees are welcome to stay at the church for as long as needed, although volunteers plan to find homes for the refugees to stay in for an extended period of time.
One uniform and four Bibles
One evacuee, Joan Hampton, arrived at the Austin convention center with only her work uniform and four Bibles in a plastic bag. Her New Orleans home is probably destroyed, but as she sat on her new bed she said, "I am home. I am surrounded by love. . . . I didn't lose anything. The Lord has blessed me." She planned to write down all she had seen on white notebook paper that she had tucked in a pillow.
Free at last
Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C., is giving free tuition, room, and board to at least eight students who were registered at colleges or universities closed by Katrina. The Lutheran school will allow students to join either fall courses that began Aug. 23 or mini-term classes that start Oct. 13. The college is also offering free housing and meals to displaced faculty.
Can't resist including this: An unruly and unwelcome guest made a surprise visit to First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Gulfport, Miss. With only the exterior walls left standing, a six-foot alligator found its way into the church's gutted fellowship hall. The National Guard was called in, and the gator was shot and killed.
Come to the fair
Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., hosted a job fair Sept. 7 so local businesses could connect with Katrina refugees. The church provided refugees with help creating a resumé and preparing for interviews. Although the event was planned to feature no more than 20 companies, the church is ready to offer more job fairs down the road.
An unexpected transfer
Yazmin Saraino, 19, was having a hard life even before Hurricane Katrina hit. Six years ago she witnessed her mother being murdered. A.J. and Andrea Babin in Metairie, La., gave her a job and helped her to get through high school and enroll at the University of New Orleans.
When Katrina hit and destroyed the Babins' home, Mrs. Babin called Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Okla., where her own daughter Tori had enrolled last month. Mrs. Babin asked if OWU could take in Yazmin and cover her tuition, room, and board-at a total cost of about $19,000. OWU said yes, word got out, and within 24 hours offers to defray Yazmin's expenses flooded in.