Harrison County

Faith gave them hope after Katrina. Now they’re helping give others hope.

A small but determined group of walkers gathered in Jones Park on Monday morning to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“We just want to give back,” Kathleen Shaughnessy of Biloxi said after completing the Gulf Coast United Walk for Hurricane Harvey from Jones Park to the Courthouse Road pier.

The walk was organized by Gulf Coast United, a disaster relief network under the umbrella of The Wells of SouthGate, a nonprofit community training and resource center.

“The inspiration came through the community,” said Rebecca Bennett, co-founder of Wells of SouthGate.

Bennett said her group has been in touch with “boots on the ground” organizations with distribution centers in Texas. “What we’re going to do is try to fill their distribution houses.”

“We’re answering their specific needs to get those to them in a timely fashion so they can continue to be a resource for their communities,” she said.

Donna Molsbee of Ocean Springs was one of about 40 who participated in the walk. She said she is still grateful for the help she received after Hurricane Katrina. Mol\sbee spent 10 days in a shelter after the storm and remembers getting a shriveled-up little orange. “It was the best thing I had ever eaten in my life.”

Sheldon Moore of Gulfport worked in a distribution center after Hurricane Katrina and she remembers the impact of the faith-based groups that helped. She said she wanted “to give back.”

“It was just amazing just to see all the people bringing the food in and bringing all the supplies in as well as those coming to get it and how much they needed it. That was so awesome that people would have hearts enough to give up their time to come and care for someone else.”

Moore said she wanted “to show that we’re supporting (the victims in Texas) and to let them know that you can get though this; it’s hard but you can get through this.”

Donations for Gulf Coast United can be made at Lakeview Village shopping center on Sangani Boulevard in D’Iberville from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or through The Wells of SouthGate’s website.

John Fitzhugh: 228-896-2193, @JFitzhughPhoto