by Gary Elgin
Knoxville News Writer
KNOXVILLE – The Knoxville Area GLBT community opened up their wallets, rolled up their sleeves, and went to work to assist the victims from the recent devastating Katrna disaster. Thousands were left homeless and displaced throughout the South and other parts of the country. Knoxville has received hundreds of refugees, and local GLBT businesses, churches and non-profit’s kicked into action. Many private GLBT citizens took part in the Red Cross training required to enter designated Red Cross intake centers and temporary shelters.
Intake in Knoxville took place primarily in the Central Baptist Church of Bearden. This church may be familiar to our readers as the home of Samaritan Ministry under the leadership of Wayne Smith.
GLBT bars in the area pitched in as well. Kurt’s on Homberg Place threw a Luau benefit, which included a buffet and a packed house talent night. The New Rainbow Club West (TNRCW) put on a benefit performance, which included “the best of the best”. The Carousel II has one planned for October 14.
Hundreds of people showed up for the special performances at the NRCW on Thursday, September 8th. The performers who donated their talents include: The Lady Geneva, Mercedes Alexander, Xenz, Gabriel Alexis, Malea Munro, Hope St. Clair, Champale Denise, India Dupree, Ashley O’Neal, Dimitria, Veronica Rose, Chanda Renee, Derrick, Nathane, Michael, and Madame Vega. A total of $1400.00 was raised by the NRCW benefit for the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Mercedes (Martin) Alexander and partner, Will, (co-owners of NRCW) have friends and family in the Gulfport, Mississippi area and plan to return with relief supplies for the Gulfport area victims.
Metropolitan Community Church of Knoxville in cooperation with Rainbow Community Awareness Project launched a food drive (Sept 7th – Oct 27th) that will serve both the MCC-K Deacon’s Pantry that can be utilized to supply food to transplanted GLBT Katrina victim’s, and also Second Harvest Food Bank, a partner in this disaster relief effort. (For more information how you can contribute to the food drive, e-mail [email protected]. Throughout Knoxville’s queer community, there has been a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this horrible tragedy.