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Responding to Gustav


World Vision is preparing to distribute hygiene items, clothing, and toys in Dallas and Jackson, Mississippi, for millions of people who are fleeing Hurricane Gustaf, spokeswoman Rachel Wolff told me this afternoon.

The Christian relief and development organization has been working with more than 150 churches and organizations along the Gulf coast, Dallas, and Jackson since Hurricane Katrina.

"We expect that people are going be turning to churches house them," Wolff said. "The faith community is going to be at the forefront of this response. We want to make sure people don't fall through the cracks. Even if the storm misses the U.S., we still have more than million people are evacuated who still have needs."

The organization distributed $10.2 million worth of donated goods and $6.1 million in grants to local churches and organizations after Hurricane Katrina. Donations to World Vision can be made by calling (888) 56-CHILD on on its Web site at www.worldvision.org.

Howard M. Friedman at Religion Clause reports that the Institute for Southern Studies just released in August a report titled Faith in the Gulf: Lessons From the Religious Response to Hurricane Katrina. The report concludes that: "More than any other nongovernmental sector - and in many cases, better than government agencies - faith organizations were able to quickly and effectively deliver the people and resources needed to help storm victims in need."

The Baptist Press reports that the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley called for a mandatory evacuation of the main campus.

Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe writes that the Rev. Jane B. Bearden, an Episcopal priest from Massachusetts, is blogging about Hurricane Gustav from Biloxi, Miss.

"We had about 55 today for church. There is a sense of relief that we will get minimal hurricane frce winds and only a 15 ft surge - 1/2 of Katrina. But there is great sadness for New Orleans. I cried all the way home. One of the parihsioners had come along I 10 and she said that all she could see for mile after mile were LA plates. I am reminded of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. And now I am crying again. I have got to stop that as I need to go put baptismal records in plastic bags and feed the cats..."

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