As part of “What a Relief,” a national effort organized by Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR), students from Wittenberg will join volunteers representing more than 60 academic institutions during spring break, March 5-10. A collaborative ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), LDR assists individuals, families and congregations in communities helping with disaster responses throughout the United States.
“Contrary to the decrease in media attention, things have most certainly not returned to normal in the regions affected by this most recent hurricane season,” said Michael Nevergall, associate for program interpretation for LDR. “Some areas have terrible flood or wind damage where you will see roofs ripped off and boats up in the trees, but there are other areas where there is simply nothing left.”
Wittenberg students will be joined in the relief effort by students studying at such institutions as Wake Forest, James Madison, Michigan State, Boston College and Virginia Technical Institute. Wittenberg is one of five universities in the state of Ohio scheduled to participate and the only one in the Miami Valley region.
“We are very excited to have the Wittenberg group join,” Nevergall said. “They (the Wittenberg students) are part of an effort that now houses nearly 1,000 students.”
Each university will be assigned a work site for the week. Wittenberg’s designated site is in Biloxi, Miss. Other locations include Mobile County, Ala., Ocean Springs, Miss., and New Orleans, La.
Rachel Tune, pastor to the university, and Collier are helping to organize the trip for Wittenberg students. Faculty and staff participation is encouraged, and those currently signed on to serve as leaders include Laura Seaman, an Americorps VISTA volunteer in the Community Service Office, Residence Coordinator Melissa Jensen and Gene Harvey, information technology coordinator in the computing center.
The cost is expected to be no more than $200, which includes transportation, lodging and meals. Space is limited to 25 students, and the deadline for application forms and a $50 deposit is Jan. 25. Students participating in the trip will be eligible to receive credit for community service hours, although they must contact the Community Service office by Jan. 18.
“The need is so enormous that I can’t imagine not being involved with this relief effort,” said Tune.
“Caring for others flows directly from our identity as a university related to the Lutheran church. “It’s part of our calling to learn about the world around us, to understand the concerns that others face, and to respond to the neighbor in need — whether near or far — with love and compassion.”
- Sarah Gearhart '06
• Wittenberg Office of Community Service
• Wittenberg Campus Ministries
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