St. John Lutheran’s Week in New Orleans with Camp Restore

Food Pantry: Carla Van Pelt

Six years after Hurricane Katrina hit, the home of Sally—a 99-year-old grandmother—still sat empty. With little money, her family turned to nearby Camp Restore for help, hearing that if they could come up with money for materials the camp would provide the labor. In October 2011 that labor came from a crew of volunteers from St. John Lutheran. Their job was to tear out and replace as many damaged joists, wall studs and rafters as they could, in five days.

Other work was done besides constructing a home. Carla Van Pelt, a St. John Lutheran member and retired Lutheran school teacher, volunteered one day at a community food pantry and another assisting a first-year teacher at the St. John Lutheran School in New Orleans. Carla said, “Teachers always like to help other teachers.”

Food Pantry Remodeling: Doug PingelFood Pantry Remodeling: Rev. KrupskiDoug Pingel, another member of St. John Lutheran, summed up the group’s feelings when he said, “What impacted me the most during the week was my interactions with other people. I was able to build a strong personal bond with the members of St. John who participated in this trip. But most importantly, I had the opportunity to meet people from New Orleans who were struggling to get their lives back together—including the young lady who's grandma owns the home we were repairing. Later a couple of us shared a lunch with her neighbor as he told us his story as a recovering alcoholic – and we shared with him about our faith.”

There is still tremendous work to be done for the people in the Ninth Ward but progress is being made. To learn more about Camp Restore and RAI Ministries, visit