What Comes After the Storm?
The worst kind of traumas are the ones that linger. The ones that take their time and provide misery on top of misery before they finally let up. Hurricane Florence was (and is) that kind of trauma.
Two weeks after the storm hit, the lingering effects of Florence continue to be felt all across Southeastern North Carolina. Thousands have lost their homes. More have lost wages from missed days at work. Schools damaged by the storm are “closed until further notice.” And to top it all off, the massive amount of water dumped on this area has created a breeding ground for large and aggressive mosquitoes.
While those are the effects that we can see, we often can’t see the worst damage caused by storms like Florence – the damage that’s done to our emotional and spiritual well-being when we endure traumatic events and their aftermath.
As Christians, we are charged from God to look after and provide for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the most vulnerable among us. And in times of crisis like this, those needs escalate quickly. While we, as a church, cannot meet all the needs of all those affected by Hurricane Florence, we must do what we can when we can.
Below is a brief recap of our disaster relief efforts thus far, what we are hoping to do in the weeks and months ahead, and how you can be involved in our continuing efforts to provide healing and hope to places and people devastated by Hurricane Florence.
What have we been doing?
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, we focused on supporting people staying in emergency shelters across our state. Thankfully, the Diaper Bank of North Carolina provided us with an opportunity to collect diapers and wipes which would then be distributed across the state to shelters and agencies assisting storm victims. Thanks to our church and community, we were able to collect roughly 28,000 diapers and 38,000 wipes.
We also focused on providing relief and recovery workers on the ground with the tools and equipment they need to succeed. Thankfully, our friends at the Red Springs Mission Camp made us aware of the need for water pumps which can be used to get water out of flooded homes, crawlspaces, basements, and low-lying yards. Thanks to the generous giving of our congregation, we were able to purchase and donate three water pumps to assist with relief efforts on the ground.
In addition, we were able to raise over $5,000 for our disaster relief fund in less than two weeks! $2,000 of that money has been sent along to Baptists on Mission to assist with relief efforts across our state. Lastly, we have been able to send a team of volunteers to the Red Springs Mission Camp for a day of cleaning, sorting, and organizing supplies which were then shipped out to hard hit areas across our state.
What are we going to do?
In the short-term, we’re going to continue to focus our efforts in and around the Red Springs Mission Camp. We’ve developed a relationship with this area over the past several years, and since they were one of the areas hardest hit by Florence, it’s only natural that we continue to send our support and volunteers to this area.
Between now and the end of the year, we will continue to send teams of people to assist with mud-out, tear-out, and the sorting of donations and supplies. Additionally, we’re in the early stages of assessing what further fundraising we can do to support long-term disaster relief efforts in the Red Springs area as well as the purchase of additional items and equipment for the mission camp itself.
Where do we need your help?
Pray. No matter your abilities, your age, or your income – all of us can pray. We can pray for those affected by the storm, for the helpers, and ultimately, for God to be glorified through the redemptive and restorative process of bringing these broken communities back to life.
Give. Our church is in it for the long haul as it pertains to assisting with relief and recovery efforts across our state. Because of that, we’ll need your continued financial support of our Disaster Relief fund. To give in person, you can designate your cash/check gifts towards “Disaster Relief.” To give online, visit our website, click “give online” and select the “Disaster Relief” option at the top of the page.
Go. It’s nice to send money to places and people who know what to do with it. But in order for our church to play our part in the redemptive story that’s yet to be told in these affected areas, we need you to go. In the months to come, we’re going to be providing several different opportunities for you to travel to the Red Springs area to assist in disaster relief and recovery efforts. To volunteer, click here and fill out our registration form. Once registered, you’ll start receiving email updates about upcoming opportunities and trips.
I’m proud of the way our church has stepped up to the challenge so far and I’m confident that God will continue to move our hearts and hands to support those who have been affected by Hurricane Florence.