World Renew, a faith-based disaster relief nonprofit headquartered in Michigan, has transformed five classrooms at Trinity Lutheran Church in Victoria into 10 bedrooms for its volunteers who will arrive Jan. 11 to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

“We do want to recognize Trinity Lutheran Church because this is a commitment on their part, as well as generosity, to go ahead and allow the transformation within their church for the volunteer teams,” said Rick Villa, executive director of the Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group. “From the kitchen to the recreation area to the classrooms, this church definitely needs to be applauded for their efforts to help accelerate recovery efforts of Hurricane Harvey.”

From 18 to 22 World Renew volunteers will help with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts at any one time in Victoria and Port Lavaca, and the groups of volunteers will change every three weeks.

The volunteers erected temporary walls in the classrooms to create hallways with doors to each bedroom. They insulated the rooms to make them soundproof and installed clean carpet. Catholic Charities donated the mattresses and bed linens.

Three RV spots also are reserved in Victoria for volunteers.

Through funding provided by Rebuild Texas Fund, Missions on Wheels donated a shower trailer with seven stalls and a clothes washer and dryer for the volunteers. Another identical shower trailer has provided service for volunteers through First United Methodist Church in Victoria since 2018, said Mike Costello, president and CEO of Missions on Wheels. Fifteen trailers are deployed across Texas with the bulk of them along the Coastal Bend, including the two in Victoria.

“In 2018, the Rebuild Texas Fund, through a grant, charged us with help to ensure no volunteers who came to Texas were turned away due to a lack of beds and showers following Hurricane Harvey,” Costello said. Having trailers allows volunteers to set up multiple sites for long-term recovery and rebuilding from the disaster. In 2019, the trailers’ total impact with all deployments is in excess of $4 million.

The World Renew volunteers will work through the end of April. They likely will continue working in the fall, depending on the need.

“We anticipate working longer,” said Phyl Grevenstuk, who is managing the World Renew projects with her husband, Rich Grevenstuk.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate.

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