Harvey Update from September 7-8, 2017: Neighbor Helping Neighbor
“It really is neighbor helping neighbor,” says Doug Stringer. “It’s not about institutions or organizations. It’s about relationship, first with God then with one another.”
When the pastor of a church that had flooded in Katy, Texas, called to tell us about his needs, we were able to direct him to New Life Church in Houston, who had just received a delivery of clean-up supplies donated by Good Shepherd Church in Brownsville and transported by Resurrection Life Church in Picayune, Miss.
Today, Doug was in League City, Texas, where Dominion Church received the fifth delivery of 10,000 My Pillows (50,000 total) donated to Somebody Cares relief partners throughout the region.
“In the midst of so much pain and difficulty, it’s been amazing to see the real church in America being a reflection of neighbor helping neighbor,” Doug says, “regardless of color, denomination, or background.”
In Houston, our long-time friends and partners at Calvary Community Church served as a shelter for two weeks until their guests returned to their homes or transitioned into long-term shelters or housing. “I have heard lots of people share how they felt loved, cared for, safe, and hope-filled because of being here,” said Pastor Jeff McGee. “One young man told me, ‘This is the first place that I have ever been where I felt loved and cared for.’ Wow. Thank the Lord Jesus for touching people here.”
In Rockport, over 27,000 hot meals have been prepared and served during the past 14 days by Mercy Chefs in partnership with Somebody Cares. These are chef-quality meals, with award-winning chefs serving as some of the volunteers cooks. In addition, we’ve been able to distribute water, gift cards, and other supplies; direct teams of volunteers; and give away one of the shipments of 10,000 My Pillows. SCA Field Rep Mark Roye met a couple at HEB Supermarket who told him they had lost everything. “I was able to bless them on the spot with $200 in gift cards that had been donated to us,” he says. “All these things we do are to give people hope.”
In Southeast Texas, the Harvest for Lost Souls Church has been able to bless their community with water, pillows, and other materials. First Baptist Church of Kirbyville, our facilitator for Somebody Cares Jasper-Newton Counties, has opened its doors as a shelter and has been feeding those in the community who lost power. Last Sunday, Pastor Beverly Burchett posted this announcement on social media: “Because First Baptist Church is a Point of Distribution, we will be the Church this Sunday instead of having church!”
Beverly also shared how the five-year-old son of a volunteer from a Lousiana cooking team made a card to encourage the people staying in their shelter and donated everything that was in his piggy bank. “I have shed many tears lately, and this was one of those times,” she says.
Stories like these abound as we continue to facilitate assistance throughout our network:
- Serving over 15,000 meals a day in Rockport, Friendswood, various locations in Houston, and Vidor. Meals in Rockport and Friendswood are being provided in partnership with Mercy Chefs;
- Sending out teams from a number of churches in Greater Houston and Southeast Texas to clean and sanitize homes contaminated by flood waters;
- Delivering non-perishable food, cleaning, and hygiene supplies to thousands of apartment residents who are unable to access stores because their cars are flooded;
- Providing 800+ household packs (large plastic bins filled with bedding, towels, hygiene items, etc.) to the Alvin Independent School District for distribution in a low income area that experienced extreme flooding;
- Distributing food, water, and other supplies through church PODs in Beaumont, Vidor, Oak Island, and other coastal areas;
- Connecting volunteer teams from across the U.S. to host churches for clean-up;
- Providing churches with clean-up equipment such as wheelbarrows, heavy duty brooms, mops, gloves, masks, etc.;
- Distributing $25,000 worth of $25 gift cards through churches to give to those impacted by the flooding;
- Delivering 60 cots to one of our partner churches that is opening up to host volunteer teams. We are also partnering with them to provide a Jambalya feast on Saturday for their community, which was part of the evacuation zone;
And much, much more!
We have also begun checking with our partners in The Caribbean and Florida in preparation for Irma response. Please join us in keeping these friends in prayer as well.
“We are doing our best to connect the dots as we connect needs to resources,” Doug Stringer explains. “We could not do it without all of you–the Body being the Body, people helping people.”
Special thanks to our vast network of local churches and ministry partners, including:Mercury One, Mercy Chefs,The Lindell Foundation, Austin Disaster Relief Network, Hill Country Daily Bread, Daily Bread Ministries, Holy Smoke Barbeque, International Aid, all of our Somebody Cares chapters, CoreLuv, The Revolution, YWAM Houston, Ally Force, New York Christian Resource Center, iPray on Campus, Seniority Services, One Pearland, Rally Cry, and many more that we will be adding to our list in the days to come!
Please continue to pray for all who have suffered loss during this time, as well as for volunteers, first responders, and our Somebody Cares team who are all working tirelessly. Please give generously to help us continue meeting the needs.
Thank you for caring!
List of supplies needed from several churches to help restore homes:
- small battery skill saws
- pry bars
- dust masks
- battery drills with drill bits
- carpet knives with blades
- drywall knives with blades
- heavy duty trash bags
- tape measures
- plastic heavy duty trash shovels
- push brooms
- regular brooms
- dust pans
From multiple churches and ministries distributing aid to families:
- gift cards in $25 and $50 value
- school supplies (school is starting up again and many children lost all their supplies)
- NEW household items
- baby supplies (diapers, wipes, baby powder, etc.)