DCOG prepares for Gulf Coast arrivals

Dagsboro Church of God (DCOG) parishioners and staff are moving into the second phase of their assistance efforts for folks left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — and they’re looking for some storage space.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: Associate Pastor George Mion and Jean Carmine, at the Dagsboro Church of God.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
Associate Pastor George Mion and Jean Carmine, at the Dagsboro Church of God.

Since the hurricane, the church has taken advantage of some local television airtime on WBOC-TV (Salisbury, Md.), to let people know they were gathering furniture and essentials for shipment to the Gulf Coast, and for families relocating to Delaware.

According to parishioner Jean Carmine, the church received an overwhelming response in the first phase of that effort, and DCOG sent two or three truckloads full of items to the Salvation Army’s in-kind distribution center in Georgia.

Church representatives then returned to the airwaves to request some additional furniture, for a Moss Point, Miss., family relocating to Millsboro. They quickly acquired everything they needed to fully furnish the family’s three-bedroom apartment.

In that case, the government had provided subsidized housing, Associate Pastor Gene Mion pointed out. And, he said, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) handled the paperwork, identifying the families most at need — the DCOG simply didn’t have the manpower and resources to determine which people should take top priority, he added.

As Carmine noted, they didn’t want to help victims relocating from Louisiana and Mississippi who had investments or retirement funds available before helping those who hadn’t a possession to their names.

While Mion said he wasn’t sure where housing might be available for additional newcomers arriving in coming months, he said several parishioners of means had volunteered to open a guest cottage or wing of their homes.

But, in many cases, they’ll need beds, tables, chairs and some appliances to furnish their living quarters, Carmine pointed out, and hopefully, a radio, television or computer here or there to make life more livable.

They still have a small stockpile left over from the items donated to furnish the family from Mississippi but want to be ready for in case four or five new families happen to arrive in Delaware at the same time.

Toward that end, Carmine has been canvassing local businesses — furniture stores in particular — that might have items with slight damage, or something that’s been discounted a few times and just isn’t moving. Her list includes furniture and baby furniture, but also lighting fixtures, hampers, mirrors, washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators or freezers (all in good working condition).

And looking ahead to next summer, Carmine’s wish-list has included items like barbecue grills, outdoor furniture, air conditioners and fans. “We’re looking for, not necessarily new items, but things in good to very good condition,” she said.

Having covered her bases at local businesses, she said she hoped to now extend the church’s request to private citizens as well.

But first and foremost, Carmine and Mion are asking for some additional storage space. They said they have some storage now, but some of the donated items are sharing a space parishioners use for various other activities.

They are requesting permission to borrow space in locations that are secure, dry and sealed against the coming winter weather. “We want to be good stewards of the things people donate,” Mion noted.

For more information, or to donate storage space, furniture or manpower, contact Joan Carmine at (302) 856-6876.