Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 4 storm. Somebody Cares is prepared to respond with direct aid like hot meals, generators, cleaning supplies, tarps, and volunteer clean-up teams to help those impacted in its wake. We have identified staging locations from Brownsville, Texas; to Corpus Christi; to San Antonio and Houston. Our network has assets positioned within hours of the forecasted landfall area and supplies are being brought into the region to distribute once the storm subsides.

I remember August 29, 2005, like it was yesterday. Hurricane Katrina had veered to the east of New Orleans, and we were deploying assistance to aid our ministry partners in Mississippi. Then the levees broke, and New Orleans was suddenly 80% under water.

Within 48 hours, our city would welcome 250,000 evacuees, but we met our first evacuees that day–a man and a woman who arrived in Houston before the storm came to my office while I was strategizing with my team, and they began to weep. Separated from all that was familiar, they had lost not only a home but loved ones as well. They were real people, with real needs, who needed help in real-time. With tears in our eyes, we vowed that day that no one would come to us for help and leave empty-handed.

It was a vow of faith, as our bank account was nearly empty. But God, as He always has done in our 36 years of ministry, was faithful to provide—by the time this historic relief event ended, we had provided funding and supplies for 160 churches to be distribution centers and shelters; distributed gift cards to 20,000 people who came to our office; and procured and delivered millions of dollars of goods and services. The work of Somebody Cares was recognized by government agencies, but most important of all, the Church in America shined like never before.

Today, it is nearly 12 years since Katrina. In addition to Hurricane Harvey’s deadly winds, we are also expecting a storm surge and flooding. Many parts of Texas have already flooded multiple times over the past few years.  The forecast is for some areas to receive up to 30 inches rain. We are already coordinating with our national and local relief partners throughout the Gulf region so we can get real time assessments and direct aid to where it is needed most. Our relief partners are ready to deploy for assessments, serving hot meals, and providing manpower and material goods.

Luke 21 tells us we will see storms, wars, conflicts, and many other crises. But we can’t be distracted; we must instead focus on verse 13, where Jesus says, “Let this be an occasion for your testimony.” No matter what happens, we must not miss these opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

As in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina approached, we face financial challenges. Our bank account is low but we have a big God who answers prayer. We ask that you partner with us by praying for grace to meet the needs from this storm and by investing financially. We need a major infusion of funds right away so we can meet the very real needs of real people in real and tangible ways. Would you consider making a gift today through  Gifts can also be mailed to Somebody Cares America, PO Box 925308, Houston, TX 77292.

As we read in the story of the fish and the loaves, when we give Jesus what we have, He blesses it and multiplies it miraculously. Don’t miss this moment to be part of something bigger than yourself!