20 or more ways to help Texans in the name of Jesus
By Emmanuella Ellis
The Category 4 storm slammed into Texas on Friday, bringing catastrophic flooding, widespread damage and 15 deaths. Individual christians and ministries are responding in a Christlike manner by providing assistance to individuals and families struck by the disaster in Houston.Thousands have lost their homes, businesses, vehicles and belongings in what officials are calling one of the worst flooding disasters in recent U.S. history. Here's our list of Christian ministries, churches and individuals providing assistance:
Charity Navigator, a non-profit U.S. organization that assesses charities, has identified Samaritan's Purse as one of the most effective disaster relief organizations helping Hurricane Harvey victims. The Samaritan’s purse is pulling its side of the weight by deploying US and Canadian volunteers and supplies to the hardest hit areas in Texas to help clean up homes in the massive destruction. “We’re going to do all we can to help them by tarping roofs, mudding out homes, and clearing debris. Most importantly, we’re going to show them the love of Christ and let them know they’re not facing this crisis alone.” Franklin Graham said. The Christian international relief organization’s teams are ready to help devastated homeowners as soon as state officials give approval to access damaged communities. Trucks of supplies filled with tools, a kitchen and showers, have already been sent to Texas.
Also deploying to Texas are crisis-trained Rapid Response Team Chaplains from Samaritan's Purse's sister organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The chaplains will offer valuable emotional and spiritual support to people who have lost their homes and possessions. The team of seven chaplains are set up at Faith Family Church in Victoria and are ministering to people getting supplies at a distribution center there on Monday.We see this as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and care for people, for them to know that God hasn’t forgotten them,” said Jack Munday, international director of the RRT (Rapid Response Team). The organisation is also partnering with churches within the location such as Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, located at 8300 Katy Freeway in Houston which will be host church, responsible for deploying volunteers to physically and spiritually minister to homeowners. The staff ad volunteers are currently stationed in Victoria, Texas, Rockpot, Santa Fe and Pearland with additional units are on stand by to move in to Houston and Galveston area as soon as the flood recedes. They will be clearing trees from homes and yards,tearing out damaged drywall, removing flooring tarping roofs, and performing mud-outs for months to come.
Convey of Hope
Also onsite is Convoy of Hope, which has delivered more than $1 million worth of supplies to Texas since its response began and reported Wednesday that it has dozens more truckloads enroute. Five tractor trailer loads of supplies had already been distributed to Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas. There are at least another 20 more trailers being loaded or headed that way, said Convoy spokesperson Jeff Nene. The organization’s focus has been on distributing food, water, and hygiene items, as more people are without power and tens of thousands are without water. After the storm makes landfall, the disaster response team members are ready to work on establishing points of distribution to help storm survivors in need.There are work trucks containing chainsaws, wheelbarrows, and shovels already on site to help homeowners requiring assistance. Communities served so far include: Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Aransas Pass, Rockport, Victoria, Sugarland, Refugio, Beeville, Port Lavaca, Bloomington, Georgetown, Austin, Tivoli, Port Oconnor and Placedo. They have already served more than 20,000 storm survivors and delivered more than 500,000 pounds in emergency relief suppliescommunities affected by severe flooding.The Disaster Services team continues to work diligently to serve storm survivors in Texas. The team is working in patnership with VineyardUSA, Pen Florida Fellow Ministers and other Churches
Somebody Cares International
On Tuesday, Somebody Cares International though being a victim of the storm, are duly performing their relief operations. The Houston-based organization reported that its staff and network had to be evacuated from their homes, but have still been assisting families and individuals; fielding and responding to calls for help throughout the region; helping connect those stranded by rising waters with rescue teams; assessing needs in shelters to mobilize resources; identifying staging areas for feeding and distribution stations; communicating important safety notices through its community network, as well as situational updates to network partners nationwide; and facilitating the collaboration of numerous churches and ministries to begin bringing in aid. “We have prayed for many who have had friends or family missing or awaiting rescue, and thankfully, rejoiced when they were located safe and sound,” the organization reported Tuesday.
Food for the Poor
As people whose homes were destroyed or flooded by Hurricane Harvey look for help, Food For The Poor is responding to the urgent request for aid by sending critically needed relief supplies to Texas. Two truckloads of food, water, blankets, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, wipes and personal hygiene products have been sent to the site. One truckload including more than 8,000 hygiene kits and 1,600 20-gallon totes with lids have been deployed to help displaced residents secure their belongings. The goods are being distributed by Convoy of Hope at Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged.Food For The Poor is also teaming up with Cincinnati-based Matthew 25: Ministries to provide disaster relief.
World Vision is another organization that has been sending emergency supplies to the disaster zone. As the storm approached Texas, World Vision began shipping relief goods from four of its field sites across the United States: Fife, Washington; Grand Prairie, Texas; Chicago; and Philippi, West Virginia. World Vision’s team of staff, local churches, and community partners have been mobilizing to reach 100,000 people affected by the disaster. On Wednesday, Aug. 30, four 53-foot semitrucks arrived to affected areas and local partners distributed supplies to storm victims. Several other trucks were en route from warehouses across the country to the salvation army, Houston and Corpus Christi. Each trailer carries enough supplies to help about 2,500 people, said Reed Slattery, World Vision’s national gifts-in-kind program director, who is helping coordinate the response. Among the supplies it is distributing to churches and local partner organizations to benefit storm victims are tents, sleeping bags, coolers, food kits, personal hygiene items, school supplies, socks, clothes, diapers, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and latex gloves.World Vision is on the ground in Texas equipping churches and local partners distributing emergency supplies.
The Salvation Army
Salvation Army officers, working alongside partner organizations, are helping care for hundreds in the shelter at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Salvation Army disaster teams from across the country are mobilizing and, even after disaster response efforts are over, the Salvation Army will remain in communities impacted by this terrible storm, supporting long-term disaster recovery efforts and providing ongoing assistance to those in need. They are providing food and water to first responders, preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents as well as provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to survivors and relief workers. Major Riggs, an Alexandria Corps Officer, providing a helping hand to Lieutenant Watts, one of the salvation army officers estimates he’s prayed and encouraged nearly 300 folks in this shelter. He says he’s spoken with some who have lost loved ones and their homes from the storm. A canteen truck has been set up at consolidated shelter to provide hot meals to evacuees.With the help of 80 volunteers, it has managed meals to serve three meals a day for up to 1200 evacuees and residents driven from their homes by Harvey.
Matthew 25 Ministries
Matthew 25 Ministries, an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization in Cincinnati, OH is responding to Hurricane Harvey. Our job is then also to help sustain them, while they're there trying to get their lives back in order," Matthew 25: Ministries CEO Tim Mettey said. Matthew 25’s Disaster Response Team departed on Tuesday, August 29 at noon for the disaster region. Joined by the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry unit, Matthew 25’s full complement of specialized disaster relief vehicles loaded with supplies including P&G personal care kits, household and cleaning products, Cintas first aid and safety kits and supplies, and additional items such as Pampers diapers, Charmin toilet paper, Tide Pods, and tarps. Matthew 25’s disaster response fleet also includes an ice machine that can produce up to 10,000 pounds of ice a day. In addition to the immediate need of water and food, Mettey said baby-care items, such as formula, diapers and wipes are immediately needed. Kentucky Athletics has also partnered with Matthew 25 Ministries to collect donations for the victims of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Christian Aid Ministries
The staff members of Christian Aid Ministries are on the ground in Texas, monitoring the situation and helping as they can. Their search and rescue teams have been assisting with rescues, picking up stranded people at their flooded homes and taking them to a safe location. The teams, now numbering more than 20 personnel, have rescued several hundred people from houses and vehicles. The teams have worked long hours, alongside thousands of other emergency personnel, to bring as many people as possible to safety. About 429 people have been rescued from flooded areas and taken to safe locations. CAM’s Loaves & Fishes Food Kitchen trailer has been set up on the outskirts of Houston to serve hot meals to homeless survivors. The Food Kitchen has served around 750 meals per day and will likely be in the area for several weeks, providing hot meals, Christian literature, and encouragement to devastated homeowners. The Rapid Response cleanup teams have begun the immense task of helping homeowners to get started cleaning up their homes. Volunteers and staff are tarping damaged roofs, removing soggy drywall, and spraying for mold that quickly develops in flooded homes.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams began responding before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, deploying hundreds of crisis buckets and sending other supplies that would be needed in the immediate aftermath of the storm. They are currently assisting in the care of up to 60,000 displaced Texans in addition to preparing thousands of hot meals and performing mud-out, chainsaw and cleaning services to restore survivors’ homes.
International Orthodox Christian Charities
IOCC is closely monitoring the progression of Hurricane Harvey as it continues to impact Southern Texas and Louisiana. IOCC staff remains in contact with partners, including members of national and local VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and expresses concern for the well-being of the people in the path of the storm. Additionally, IOCC is activating its Emergency Response Network, the Frontliners, to deploy in the coming days to help the people affected by the storm with emotional and spiritual care and conducting needs assessments. Even after their deployment, IOCC’s work to clean and rebuild homes will continue into the weeks and months following the storm’s devastation.
Also helping storm victims while being among the storm’s victims is Buckner International, which initiated relief efforts to help those both in southeast Texas and those who have evacuated to north Texas. Catholic Charities USA is a Catholic social service organization and the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church. The agencies provide essential support before, during and after disasters hit. The group has set up a website devoted to Harvey relief, and explains that "long term recovery" is part of the group's approach to disasters like this one. Hand of Hope is partnering with Church Unlimited, as well as Convoy of Hope, The Church TX and Bethel Global Response to provide relief in Texas. American Family Association has partnered with the Christian non-profit organization, Eight Days of Hope to help provide relief to flood victims. Answers in Genesis is also working with long-time ministry partner Children's Hunger Fund to provide needed relief.
Meanwhile, in Kerrville, Texas, The Coming King Foundation (TCKF) reported that hundreds of those affected by Hurricane Harvey are finding solace at its “The Empty Cross” prayer garden.“This week our Tour Guide Chaplains have been praying for dozens of victims of Hurricane Harvey, families who have escaped the disaster on the Gulf coast, seeking higher ground,” said Jeff Anderson, TCKF’s “Fire Marshall,” who leads the 50 trained volunteer chaplains who serve the garden’s guests.
Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church receives a $250G donation out of Tyler Perry’s $1 million pledge to help in assisting hurricane Harvey victims. Amidst the controversies about the opening of the Lakewood church doors to accommodate hurricane Harvey victims, the 16,800 seat church was opened on Tuesday to flooding evacuees.
Natalie Grant and other Christian stars raised more than $200k for Hurricane Harvey relief. Christian music stars gave Hurricane Harvey relief efforts a shot in the arm Thursday night with a online benefit concert streamed live from a Brentwood studio. The Texas show was hosted toraised money for Convoy of Hope, a Christian nonprofit providing direct aid to Texas storm victims. The goal was to raise $100,000, however, the concert, broadcasted via Facebook Live, raised more than $200,000 in a couple of hours, according to Convoy of Hope. In addition to a performance by Grant, other Christian artists who participated include Jeremy Camp, Danny Gokey, Travis Greene, Mark Hall of Casting Crowns, Hannah Kerr, Matt Maher, Mandisa, Jonathan McReynolds, Ryan Stevenson and Matthew West.
Christian entertainers with Texas roots, including Lecrae, David Crowder and Kari Jobe, are also using their platform to help many of their loved ones and fans that are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Walls Group, a band of gospel music singing siblings, though unable to get home to Houston after they have been touring on the road hosted a benefit concert in Atlanta, Georgia to raise funds for relief efforts in Houston.
Religious organizations across Dallas-Fort Worth providing relief for Hurricane Harvey victims by seeking supplies, collecting donations and could soon provide shelter for evacuees displaced by Hurricane Harvey. In the last few days, email blasts have been sent to congregants of all religions requesting help and volunteers. The Potter's House Church is drawing on all of its locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, North Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles to collect supplies including toiletries, diapers, baby formula and other essentials. Prestonwood Baptist Church is doing the same, with collection stations in Plano, Prosper, Celina and Frisco. First Baptist Church is partnering with various relief organizations and intends to eventually send teams to Houston and South Texas to help in the hurricane's aftermath.
Fellowship Church is asking its congregants to provide items such as Wal-Mart gift cards, canned foods and gallon-sized Ziploc bags.Also, First United Methodist Church of Garland will be assembling "flood buckets" from 8 a.m. Sunday through 12:30 p.m., says senior pastor Valarie Englert. "We're asking folks to just take 10 minutes out of their morning and come by the fellowship hall to participate in an assembly line operation," she says. The church is located at801 West Avenue B in Garland.The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson has asked members and visitors to Sunday's worship services to bring items to donate to hurricane relief, member David Alvey shared on Facebook. The church is located at the intersection of Central Expressway and Renner Road.
Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church hosted a meal-packing event on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., to ensure nonperishable food reaches those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The church partnered with Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, NorthPark Presbyterian Church, Rotary Club of Dallas, Unity of Dallas and Meals of Hope.Mercy Chefs is a non-profit, faith-based charitable organization committed to providing high-quality, professionally prepared meals to victims, first responders, and volunteers during natural disasters and national emergencies.
Lisa Booth, director of hospitality at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, said the congregation is prepared to open its doors just as it did after Hurricane Katrina. They called it Hotel Katrina, housing evacuees at the Christian Life Center, which has a full kitchen, showers, lockers, a gym and classrooms.
There are also a number of Christian groups on social media, particularly on Facebook which have been set up to help those in need and provide information to those who can satisfy the need on what could be provided, where help is most needed and the organisations on the ground which they can team with.