March 1, 2006

Natalie and More Friends
by John Fischer

It all began with an article I read in the Los Angeles Times last September about a hair salon in Long Beach, Mississippi that was able to keep its doors open after hurricane Katrina swept through town. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on the dignity deserving of a child of God. (See “Queen for a Day” – September 14, 2005)

Days later I found out that some of our readers had located Natalie and Friends Hair Salon and sent money and personal items for Natalie to distribute to her customers who had lost so much. So I contacted her myself to make sure this was okay and asked if she could handle more. I’ve been wondering if she ever regretted saying yes, because her life changed after we published the address of her store a week later (See “Dignity Distribution Center” – September 20, 2005 ). Yesterday I received an email from her and she stated, “I told my 16-year-old son that I thought I was an active person, but I guess God thought I could handle a little more. Sometimes I would think, ‘What have I done?’ but God always sent someone to help me pass out the donations.”

Due to the volume of response to the need, Natalie has had to get herself licensed with the state and registered with the IRS to receive donations as a non-profit. All of the funds that have come in she turned over to her church that was completely destroyed, to help with the rebuilding. Donated items were passed out to distribution centers and taken into neighborhoods that were underwater or wiped out all together. “These gracious people were so humbled,” she wrote. "’We are used to being the giving ones,’ they would say. They expressed so much love and thankfulness… God is really working His good in all this.”

“Please, as everyone down here is saying, just don’t forget about us in a few months or even a few years. We will be rebuilding for many years to come. Now instead of personal supplies to our distribution centers, people are sending building supplies. Isn’t that great? There are church groups from all over the United States here to help us out. Very slowly, day by day, the debris gets less and less.

“But most of all I thank God every night for your readers that came through for everyone here. I wish I could sit down and write to each and every one of you individually. I do pray for everyone each night and pray that you are all blessed, too.”

Natalie Schmidt

We won’t forget, Natalie. Keep us informed. It has enriched our lives to be able to serve you. This is truly the Body of Christ at work.


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