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Calif. city reaches out to Miss. town of same name

Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Bob Foster is scheduled to be in this storm-ravaged town on Wednesday to deliver money raised for Hurricane Katrina victims by residents of his West Coast city of the same name.

Katrina’s storm surge devastated Long Beach, Miss., destroying most of the downtown area and beyond. In response, the Long Beach, Calif., City Council in October of last year passed a resolution creating the “The Long Beach Cares” initiative.

California residents and businesses raised $40,000 for the Mississippi coastal town, and have donated shoes, books and surplus vehicles.

“It is gratifying to see so many people in our city respond to the needs of Long Beach, Mississippi,” Foster said. “People coming together to raise money to assist our sister city in Mississippi also assisted us in strengthening our sense of community.”

The money was raised in a variety of ways, including golf tournaments and silent auctions. Some restaurants held fundraisers in which their nightly proceeds were donated. The city also donated surplus vehicles.

Long Beach City College in California donated 1,000 pairs of shoes and the California city’s public library donated some 500 books to the public library of the Mississippi town. The library was heavily damaged during the storm one year ago, and is expected to reopen sometime this fall.

“It gives us great hope,” said Becky Schruff, the City Clerk for Long Beach, Miss. “Everything that I have looked at and been a part of for my entire life is completely gone, and sometimes I don’t know where I am. But with the support and encouragement we’ve recieved from the people of Long Beach, California, I know that we’ll recover.”

On the Web: www.longbeachcares.org