Lincoln County residents who want to host families in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have a lot of waiting ahead of them.
Area churches that were hoping to spearhead the effort have found themselves weighed down with red tape and FEMA regulations.
â€œThat can be somewhat of a bureaucratic entanglement,â€ said William McCollough, facility supervisor at First Baptist Church in Lincolnton.
Denver Baptist Church, which originally planned to bring up 500 refugees, have had to seriously rethink the plans.
In order to organize the hosting of families, the church must partner with a larger organization, which has received FEMA approval.
â€œAll weâ€™re doing is trying to find the right avenue,â€ said David Sexton, associate pastor of administration. â€œBecause I know theyâ€™re hurting, and weâ€™ve got people who want to help.â€
Even the Lincoln County chapter of the American Red Cross is not organizing the hosting of families. They will, however, provide the names of potential hosts to refugees.
â€œWe hook them up with somebody who can provide them with a place,â€ said Doris Cloninger, office assistant.
Although there are refugees staying in Lincoln County with family members, there are very few in search of homes.
First Baptist Church is working with Outpost Ministries out of Charlotte to bring refugees to Lincoln County.
What theyâ€™ve been told by volunteers in devastated areas is â€œwe donâ€™t have anyone to send you.â€
People have told the organization they either want to stay in their homes or go to family.
So instead of hosting families, Lincoln County residents and churches are helping in other, much needed, ways.
Food boxes have been collected. Volunteers have been sent to affected areas. Offerings have been made at churches and donations have run high. There have also been many Sunday morning prayers.
The Lincoln County Chapter of the American Red Cross has provided goody bags to refugees in the area. They have received toiletries, clothing, shoes and food.
As of now, thatâ€™s everything people have needed.
â€œSo far everybody has had someone to stay with, even though itâ€™s temporary,â€ said Cloninger.
As for bringing refugees into the county and providing host families, local churches havenâ€™t given up yet.
â€œWe just want to do it right and not get in trouble,â€ said Sexton.
by Amy Wadsworth