Locals some of first responders after Katrina

PAM GRIFFIN 654-8444 | @DestinLogPam
Mission Love Seeds and its volunteers were some of the first responders in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

Destin's Mission Love Seeds remembers 10 years ago very well. The group was one of the first organizations to respond to help families in Mississippi after they lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, Aug. 29, 2005.

Less than a year after Mission was founded by Barbi Carroll and her husband John Hawbaker to work in the Philippines, God called them to help families devastated by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi. This was MLS' first major disaster and much was learned to prepare for other disasters in the future.

"We were so blessed to have the use of Legendary's brand new show room in Destin to sort relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Katrina," Carroll, president of MLS, said. "We had over 30 people sorting and labeling everything to get it ready for families in Mississippi."

In the beginning, after the storm, relief supplies were delivered to families in Mississippi every week ... several 24 foot trucks with housekeeping and building supplies, appliances, cabinets and even front doors. Then they began taking supplies once a month. More than 200 truckloads of furniture and supplies were delivered and distributed to the families.

Once a house was rebuilt, volunteers went in and set up entire homes with beds, furniture, appliances ... right down to linens, towels on bath racks and pictures on the walls.

Hundreds of families were adopted at Christmas so everyone had a nice Christmas, especially the children, and MLS teamed up with Destin United Methodist Church to rebuild the Pearlington United Methodist Church.

But it was only because of generous supporters in Destin and this area that all this could be done. The Eimers group used their truck to collect donations of food, clothing, and supplies ... everything needed to rebuild lives ... and the people of Mississippi waited eagerly for the big trucks to arrive with all the donations.

Many of these volunteers went on trip after trip eager to drive trucks or do whatever was needed. There were hundreds of volunteers who gladly gave of their time and money to help families who lost everything.

"My husband and I are so blessed to live in such a giving community," Carroll said. "Everyone, including businesses, hotels and restaurants, all came together to help and gave everything they could for families who lost everything."