Tuesday November 22, 2005

Helping Give Thanks

UD students and staff to spend Thanksgiving holiday assisting with hurricane clean-up in Biloxi, Miss.

A group of 15 students and staff from the University of Dayton will spend their Thanksgiving holiday in Biloxi, Miss., helping with continued Hurricane Katrina clean-up efforts.

The group will depart for Biloxi at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, from the Immaculate Conception Chapel on UD's campus. A prayer service will be held prior to the group's departure at 7 a.m. inside the chapel.

The UD students and staff will join thousands of volunteers from throughout the nation who are using their vacation time to aid in the massive, ongoing hurricane recovery effort. More than 100 relief organizations have sent volunteers to the hurricane-stricken areas.

The Thanksgiving trip is the second one folks from UD have made to the Gulf Coast to assist those affected by the hurricanes that ravaged the region in late August.
For example, during UD's fall break in mid-October, 55 UD students, faculty and staff traveled to Biloxi to help with hurricane clean-up, while 34 students from the UD chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ aided hurricane relief efforts in Pass Christian, Miss.

"I was so moved and saw so much hope in the students during the fall trip that I wanted to be part of it again," said Melissa Lees, a graduate student assistant with UD's Center for Social Concern and organizer of both the fall and Thanksgiving trips to Biloxi.

The group will stay at the DeDeaux Retreat Center, operated by the diocese of Biloxi, and spend the days moving debris, gutting homes and helping with general clean up, Lees said. In addition, the group may spend Thanksgiving Day serving food to displaced area residents.

For media interviews, contact Melissa Lees at (937) 229-3973. During the trip, you may reach her on her cell phone at (845) 242-8808.