press/media Information

Press/Media Information


Press Contact: Tim Sims, Gateway Community Church. 713.551.4142 or [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                Contact :  Tim Sims (713) 551-4142

February 24, 2006

Katrina Volunteer Base Camp Rocks the Gulf Coast

When other agencies are winding up their relief efforts, the volunteers at the CORE Base Camp in Ocean Springs, Mississippi continue to set the tone in the Gulf Coast.

Considering the organization did not even exist prior to the Hurricane Katrina, this grass roots organization from Houston is now one of the leading non-profit relief groups impacting the Mississippi coast.

As of Friday, February 24, 2006 CORE has:

  • Logged 172,000 volunteer work hours
  • 3400 volunteers have been through here to date.
  • 3500 more signed up to come through July.
  • 300 homes cleaned and sanitized (“stripped to the studs and sprayed with bleach”
  • Removed trees and debris from 284 homes, rebuilt 8 homes, in the process of rebuilding 23 homes right now.
  • Roofed one church, rebuilt another, rebuilt 6 day cares, one high school.
  • 130 homes still on the clean and sanitized and 450 homes on the rebuild list.
  • Currently averaging 250 volunteers a day.
  • From March 12th through March 28th we will have 400 plus volunteers each day.
  • Over one hundred homes will be touched in some way over that 2 week period.
  •  Volunteers have come from all 50 states and 13 different countries.
  • Germany, Mexico, Canada, Slovakia, Japan, Hong Kong, many others.
  • June/July we will have 400 a day for 2 solid months.

C.O.R.E. – Christians Organized for Relief Efforts was established by two churches from Houston, Texas to assist in meeting the needs of people hit by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast area.  Gateway Community Church and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (both located in the Clear Lake area of Houston) partnered together to provide resources to establish the Base Camp that currently sits on the property of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

Prior to the camp, the situation was that willing volunteers did not find a place to stay, nor the organized coordination to meet the needs of the community.  “You can have a thousand willing volunteers, but without a place to put them… and without the ability to lead them… they would be practically useless” cited Tim Sims, Executive Pastor at Gateway Community Church. “When we saw what was going on, we quickly concluded that the greatest need was a plan to mobilize and coordinate people who were willing to help, but didn’t know how”.

The Base Camp serves as a staging ground for church groups, community groups, and other volunteers to serve.  The camp provides large air-conditioned tents, cots, meals, portable restroom facilities, etc… to meet the physical needs of volunteers who will serve in weekend and week long service projects.  “God is doing an incredible work here” said Mike Malkemes, camp director.

The need for mobilization

In addition to physical needs, the base camp will be the staging platform for the actual service projects.  Volunteers will be divided into teams and led by local coordinators.  When Jackson County saw how quickly and efficiently the faith-based organization was working, they asked the camp to serve as a “clearing house” for ALL volunteers and work requests for the entire county.  Today, people in the county can call a local number and put in a request for a work crew to assist in cleaning up the devastation in and around their homes.

Current Project Crews:

  • Clean up Crew – Going into homes and pulling out carpet, furniture, sheetrock, and other items ruined by water
  • Base Camp Crew – Setting up and organizing tents, trailers, and other logistical needs to operate the base camp
  • Rebuild Crew – All trade skills needed to assist in rebuilding homes.
  • Office Crew – Administrative help for the C.O.R.E. office.


Two Churches come together in a big way

The Katrina Volunteer Base Camp is a beautiful picture of churches working together to provide practical and much-needed assistance to the hurricane torn region hundreds of miles away.  Gloria Dei Lutheran Church was quick to join forces with Gateway Community Church.  “When we first heard of Gateway’s plan, we knew that it was a natural fit for our church to be a part of this project” said Vince Parks, Executive Director at Gloria Dei.   “We were very familiar with Gateway and felt confident that we were ‘like minded’.  We also knew that we had people who could rally around this idea and help provide leadership and coordination of this massive operation.”

The partnership has proven extremely effective.  In fact, what started out as a simple desire of a couple Clear Lake churches to help organize volunteers has become one of the lead relief organizations in the Mississippi Gulf coast.

For more information contact Tim Sims:

[email protected]