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Starfish Cafe: Five years of serving fresh food and faith in Bay St. Louis

The day after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Diane “Di” Fillhart and a fellow PNEUMA— Winds of Hope missionary member loaded up a pickup truck and adjoined trailer with food, water, clothing, cleaning products and medical supplies and set out from Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“We laid our hands on the map and said, ‘Today would be a really good day for God to tell us where we’re headed,’” said Fillhart, a Pennsylvania native.

After a mid-September stop in Baton Rouge and a chance run-in, an old friend suggested that they go to Bay St. Louis. Known to Gulf Coast locals as “The Bay,” the town of about 11,287 at the time, was taken under by Katrina’s nearly 30-foot storm surge and devastated by 120 mile per hour winds.

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