Nearly 1,330 miles due south of Minneapolis, a community sits devastated physically by Hurricane Katrina and emotionally distraught from the amount of work yet to be done.
But the 9,000 residents of Pass Christian, Miss., are far from being alone in the struggle to rebuild their city.
On Thursday, Campus Crusade for Christ sent 48 people linked to the University chapter on a 25-hour bus ride to relieve hurricane victims.
Thirty-eight University students are accompanied by five Bethel College students, four Crusade staff members and one friend of the staff.
“Shortly after the hurricane we heard people needed help,” said Bob Fuhs, adviser of the Campus Crusade staff. “We wondered, What if we organized trips for students to go down and help?”
The effort comes as part of a nationally recognized Campus Crusade program that is sending students all over the country to areas in need of hurricane relief.
Students from the University’s chapter will be working in Pass Christian with other colleges and universities.
Once the idea was set in place, the staff needed to see a positive reaction from Campus Crusade members in order to get enough people to go on the trip.
The reaction came quickly as 20 people signed up immediately and nearly 30 more responded within the following week, said staff member Dawn Little.
“The reasons we’ve heard for why students wanted to come really impressed us,” Little said. “They wanted to be selfless, show the love of Christ to the world and do something that is totally not about themselves.”
University first-year student Minn Lee echoed those sentiments.
“I felt like I would be doing more than just giving money to the victims,” Lee said.
Pass Christian, located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, saw 70 percent of its homes, schools and churches destroyed by hurricane-related activity, said Minneapolis resident Jacy Hildreth, a friend of Little’s who accompanied the group.
The objectives of Campus Crusade members in Pass Christian include helping families remove debris from their homes, stripping flood-damaged carpet and drywall, and preparing for reconstruction.
“We’re looking to help people however we can,” said University alumnus and current Crusade staff intern Josh Johnson.
“The theme of the weekend is flexibility,” he said.
Johnson said the time and date for when each school decides to devote its time to hurricane cleanup depends on when its students are best suited to go.
“Nationally, they basically have a sign-up sheet for different weekends and we can pick which weekend is the best for us,” Johnson said. “This weekend, the professors were good enough to let us go.”
The bus was expected to arrive in Pass Christian around 7 p.m. today. They’ll load the bus again at 7 p.m. Sunday and make it back to Minneapolis by Monday night.
Junior Asian and language studies student David Nordtvedt said a trip like this puts everyone’s life in perspective.
“I have so much; it means nothing to give one weekend to help,” Nordtvedt said. “It may only make a dent, but if I can help at all, it’s worth it.”