More than 100 Wake Forest students to spend spring break in Gulf Coast

By Pam Barrett
March 1, 2006

More than 100 Wake Forest University students have chosen to trade in their bathing suits and suntan lotion for gloves and hammers during their upcoming spring break. The students, who are members of five different student organizations, will travel to various locations throughout the Gulf Coast to provide hurricane disaster relief. All of the groups will leave from the Wake Forest campus March 4 and will return between March 9 and March 11.

The student organizations coordinating the trips are the Volunteer Service Corps (VSC), the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Wake Forest Catholic Campus Ministry (WFCC), the Baptist Student Union (BSU) and the Lutheran Student Ministry (LSM).

The VSC will take 33 students to a FEMA tent city outside of Tulane University in New Orleans to help build storage buildings, clean up debris and tutor elementary-age children.

Forty-seven students will travel with RUF to Lagniappe Presbyterian Church in Bay St. Louis, Miss., where they will help a pastor, who returned to the area after his aunt and uncle were killed in the hurricane to plant a church and provide both spiritual and physical relief. The students, who represent a wide range of denominational backgrounds, will help clean out houses, build storage sheds and perform light construction.

Both the WFCC and the LSM will take small groups of students and faculty to Ocean Springs, Miss., to help rebuild houses and do light demolition work. The WFCC group will work with CORE (Christians Organized for Relief Efforts) at the CORE Base Camp. The LSM group will work with 1,100 other students from across the nation with the "What a Relief" spring break campaign through Lutheran Disaster Relief.

The BSU group will take 22 students to Pearlington, Miss., the same location another group of Wake Forest BSU students visited during the winter break, to do reconstruction and repair work with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi.

Becky Hartzog, associate chaplain at Wake Forest and Baptist campus minister, said that the BSU is returning to Pearlington because they do not want these people to be forgotten. "Over Christmas, every survivor of Hurricane Katrina that we met said, 'When you go back home, please tell people not to forget about us. The storm is over for you, but for us, it is just the beginning,'" Hartzog said.

Interviews with the students can be arranged by contacting the News Service.