Area Volunteers Sort Through Piles Of Compassion

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Each time he loads a box stuffed with clothes and supplies, Rockford Lutheran senior Michael Roop feels a small part of something big.

"It's amazing. We are all here together, we all have a part, and it's just like serving as a big community and a big church. It's a great place to be," Roop said.

Quite a place indeed. Sunday afternoon, 300 plus volunteers answered the compassionate call, feverishly folding during a massive sort fest, to accommodate a massive clothing relief drive.

"It way exceeded expectations. We had started in the Frameshop and within 2 1/2 hours we were at JC Penney's, and it's full!" Wendi Fosberg said.

And the need is even greater where these goods are headed, Waveland, Mississippi. In recent days, FEMA pulled out of the crippled community, leaving Heartland Church as that area's main source of relief, and hope.

"I think that it's really our time to step up, and take control of the relief effort there, since it's on us basically," Roop said.

And that's why Sunday's sort fest means so much for so many volunteers, with so many clothes, and so much love.

"Heartland Community Church is an awesome place. It's about doing church a different way, and this is one of the ways that we're doing it different," Coordinator Carol Barrie said.

"These people lost everything when this hurricane hit. This is where the eye came, so it's absolutely destroyed, and they need everything and anything we can give them," Roop said.

You can expect more of these Sunday afternoon sort fests in the fall. Heartland teams will make weekly trips to Waveland, Mississippi until January.

In recent days, the church received a semi-truck of supplies from churches in both the Chicago suburbs and the Quad Cities. Organizers say volunteers are always needed.