Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, devastating millions on the Gulf Coast of Texas. NALC Disaster Response and NALC congregations have been providing emergency relief since. After touring from Corpus Christi to Houston, Mary Bates, NALC Disaster Coordinator, assessed the need for donation centers and volunteer team housing.
“Some of our church buildings have damage, some our pastors’ homes are damaged, and many of our congregational families’ homes are destroyed. Your help is needed,” Mary Bates said. “NALC congregations have addressed the needs of the congregational members impacted, and we are now reaching out to the larger community. Please continue to send your support.”
Now more than nine truckloads of water, flood buckets with cleaning supplies, rakes, shovels, garden hoses, more than 1,000 hygiene kits, 500 layettes/baby items, 2,000 quilts and Bibles, school supplies, and petfood have been delivered to families in need from Corpus Christi to Beaumont by NALC Disaster Response. Peace Lutheran Church in Clifton, Texas, was a staging area for donations that are much needed by those on the Gulf Coast.
The NALC’s South Texas Mission District is now transitioning to long-term recovery. The same distribution centers and disaster volunteer team housing used for mudding out homes will now be used to schedule donations of building supplies (especially flooring) and volunteers to rebuild homes. See the NALC website for more information on how to volunteer or send tangible items.
Volunteer teams will be needed throughout the next year and devastated families will need help for a number of years.
The first disaster volunteer team — from St. John Lutheran Church in Boerne, Texas — gutted and repaired the home of Pastor Mike Gabby in Portland, Texas. Pastor Gabby’s home was damaged. His church, St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Portland, was flooded when flashing on the roof was ripped off.
St. Stephen members generously arranged for volunteer housing and a donations center in the midst of a community with no power and no utilities.
Mary Bates then met with Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Victoria, Texas, an LCMC congregation that we are partnering with in an area devastated by hurricane force winds.
Pastor Bryce Formwalt of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, an LCMC congregation in New Braunfels, Texas, worked with Mary Bates to arrange for volunteer housing and a donations center, to be used by both LCMC and NALC volunteer teams.
While traveling to Rosenberg, Texas, Mary Bates and Pastor Mike Giese of Peace Lutheran Church in Rosenberg got into rising flood waters from the Brazos River. After nearly five hours, they made it into Rosenberg, which was also flooded.
A donations center and volunteer housing have been established at Peace Lutheran Church in Rosenberg. The first recipients were the membersof Oromo Evangelical Church, an NALC congregation in Houston. Pastor Kamiso Boru’s home was destroyed as were the homes of several members of the congregation.
In the midst of the storm and the storm recovery, we are at work spreading the Gospel. When Pastor Gabby asked Mary Bates why she was sending quilts to an area with 100-degree heat, Mary responded that Bibles and beautiful quilts made by the Women of the NALC and others provide comfort and hope for families who have lost everything. Several days later, Pastor Gabby said that for each Bible and quilt handed out, there were lots of tears of joy. Recipients know that NALC congregations care and experienced the presence of Jesus that is always with us.
Hurricane Irma has left a 400-mile-wide path of destruction across Florida and the southern states. Thankfully, NALC congregations are again reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the south, providing prayers and support.
The first truckload of cleaning supplies, flood buckets, water, and many other items was sent to Florida from the Carolinas Mission District.
Your help and prayers are needed as NALC Disaster Response and the NALC Disaster Task Force begins the process of response and recovery in the Sonshine, Mid-South, and Carolinas Mission Districts.
Pastor George Johnson of Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran Church in Jacksonville has offered their church to be a staging area. Mary Bates will be assessing the need and identifying ways to help as the water recedes throughout the state.
Information on how to assemble flood buckets and other disaster kits is available on the NALC website. Donations of cleaning supplies, flood buckets, mops, brooms, garden rakes, garden hoses, and other items may be sent to the NALC Disaster Warehouse; 810 Main Street; Caldwell, OH 43724.
Watch the NALC website for information on locations in Texas and Florida that can receive tangible supplies and volunteer teams. For more information on how you can help, watch the website for updates or contact Mary Bates at [email protected] or 740-509-1132.
Monetary donations may be given online at www.thenalc.org or sent to NALC Disaster Response; 2299 Palmer Drive, Suite 220; New Brighton, MN 55112-2202.
International Relief Efforts
NALC Recognized Ministries Lutheran World Relief and Water Mission are responding to damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the Caribbean Islands and in Puerto Rico, as well as earthquakes in Mexico. For real time updates – please visit their respective websites.
Gifts to Lutheran World Relief may be given online at lwr.org or sent to Lutheran World Relief; P.O. Box 17061; Baltimore, MD 21297-1061.
Gifts to Water Mission may be given online at watermission.org
or sent to: Water Mission; P.O. Box 71489; North Charleston, SC 29415.