Linfield students lauded for dedicated service in New Orleans

New Orleans volunteer workIt’s been a decade since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Linfield College students have remained steadfast in efforts to help restore the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Each August, students volunteer during Ecumenical Work Week sponsored by the American Baptist Churches Home Mission Society (ABCHMS) to help rebuild the community and learn the importance of giving back. Their experiences were featured in an ABCHMS story, “Passionaries Serving in New Orleans.”

Linfield students and staff will return again this year, Aug. 1-8. Last year, volunteers completed 53 different projects with the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, a grassroots organization devoted to restoring New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Linfield students painted, cleared property of weeds, undergrowth and debris, worked on gutters and helped with some basic electrical wiring.

The week-long effort combines educational experiences with hands-on work helping with the rebuilding efforts. Volunteers have the opportunity to meet and talk with local residents, learning about their struggles first-hand. They also visit exhibits about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, as well as learn about the environment and ecology of the delta and local area.

The Linfield student group is led by David Massey, chaplain and assistant professor of religious studies, and Dan Fergueson, director of college activities.