LANSING, MI – When hurricane Katrina survivors, holding onto hope and the few things they could salvage, began searching for higher ground and a new beginning, Greater Lansing was there to lend support.
The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with members of the Legislative Black Caucus, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, Black Child & Family Institute and many other groups within Lansing’s faith-based community, took organized action when they loaded up and sent down three Dean Trailways buses to the Gulf Coast. Loaded with over 30,000 lbs. of supplies of all kinds, the eventual intention was to load the busses back up with evacuees looking to flee the area until order was restored.
All told, 126 evacuees came to the Greater Lansing area from the Red Cross intake processing center at Fort Custer in Battle Creek. Local merchants, hoteliers, restaurants and charitable organizations of all kinds were ready and waiting with everything the newly-arriving evacuees would need.
“The community of Greater Lansing was responsive and involved from the onset of this tragedy,” said Linda Sims, Account Executive Consultant with the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau and evacuee resource/advocate. “It was so touching to see the outpouring of generosity and compassion coming out of our community.”
Numerous Greater Lansing businesses and organizations lent a hand to the effort, many of them Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau members:
Cell phones/visitor guides – GLCVB
Extended Hotel room stays at the Clarion Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott , Radisson Hotel and Sheraton Hotel
Old Country Buffet
“Every single family that came to us was given a house, apartment or hotel room in which to stay with cupboards full of food, clothing and more,” continued Sims. “Then, outside of basic human needs, organizations from throughout the Greater Lansing area made donations that gave these people who have been through so much, a little bit of fun. For example, large lots of tickets to local events such as Michigan State Football games were also donated. We really opened up to them the very heart of Lansing.”