Disaster Relief

A Visit to Sutherland Springs Baptist Church

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On November 7, 2017, the worst thing that could ever happened, happened… In a church. One place you would think you would be safe. My husband and I went to Sutherland Springs to serve dinner earlier this month with Mercy Chefs. We passed out food, prayed over the people, and loved on them throughout the night. Everyone in Sutherland Sprimgs is still in much need of our prayers.

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As she broke down, one lady told me, “this is my church and my town." We hugged her, and cried with her as she told us her story. “I had planned on going to church that day, but my grandson came down with fever so I stayed home with him. As soon as I got the call about the shooting, his fever broke. God kept me from going to church that day. There are stories just like mine all around the town.“

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I thought to myself, God protected her and her grandson that day and many others in the town. I don’t know why he chose the ones he did to stay at home that day, but we will find that out when we get to heaven. God doesn’t ask us to understand why things happen. He says, “Trust Me.“

Another lady named Freda told me that she was shot five times in the legs! During her two-hour surgery, her family gathered in the waiting room, hugging each other and crying together. They all thought she was going to die. Two weeks later, she walked out of the hospital without even a cane or a wheelchair! Now that is a miracle! There is a reason Freda is alive. She told me that she moved to Sutherland Springs to get away from Hurricane Harvey, so she survived a hurricane and a shooting! Hand that woman a pen and paper and let her write a book!

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There are no words to explain what happened or why. All I can do is point people to God and tell them to focus on him. He is the healer, wonderful, Counselor, Almighty, Prince of Peace... this verse comes to mind: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭

What happened that day is unexplainable, and excusable, and one of the most horrific things that have happened in my lifetime. I know that God can bring something good out of something bad. We may never know what it is but that doesn’t matter. Just trust.

- Amy Simmons Crafton, Founder of AmazingGrace.Life 

A Prayer For Victims of Harvey

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Dear God,

Thank You for the many precious promises in Your Word that reassure us that the various sufferings that we face today are but for a short time, and are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us in the eternal ages to come.

Thank You that the pain we must endure is but for a season, and will give way to joys that are unspeakable and full of glory, knowing that we have been promised an eternal rest, when all tears will be wiped from our eyes.

All glory be to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves receive from the Lord - how we praise Your holy name,

Amen

Ways We Can Help Victims of Harvey

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General Relief

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established a Harvey relief fund at The Greater Houston Community Foundation. The organization connects donors with a network of nonprofits and innovative solutions in the social sector.

GlobalGiving, which calls itself the largest global crowdfunding community, has a goal of raising $2 million for its Harvey relief fund. Funds will be used first for immediate needs of food, water and shelter and then transition to long-term recovery efforts.

United Way of Greater Houston has launched a relief fund for storm-related needs and recovery. The organization says it already maintains a disaster relief fund but anticipates the needs of Harvey will far exceed those existing resources.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has also launched a Hurricane Harvey relief fund. The organization says its strategy emphasizes "investing well rather than investing quickly, addressing the greatest needs and gaps in funding that may be yet to emerge."

GoFundMe, the social fundraising site, has created a landing page that gathers the campaigns on its platform related to Harvey.

The Salvation Army says it is providing food and water to first responders and preparing for massive feeding efforts for residents.

Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief says its teams began responding before Harvey made landfall and continues on-the-ground relief work.

Samaritan's Purse is accepting donations as well as volunteers for Harvey disaster relief for the coming months.

Blood

As well as the American Red Cross, local organizations accepting blood donations are Carter BloodCare and the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

Shelter

Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County coordinates the city's response to homelessness, serving as "a backbone organization" to groups that offer direct service. It has been providing updated information on shelters with available beds.

Airbnb has set up an urgent accommodations site, where people can open their homes to evacuees from the storm or find shelter themselves. Service fees are waived for those who check in by Sept. 1.

Food

A number of food banks will be aiding the affected region. Consider donating money instead of food, as it allows a food bank to use your donation most efficiently.

Feeding Texas is a statewide nonprofit that works alongside state and federal relief efforts. The organization says it steps in during major disasters to "coordinate with the state and other providers so that relief reaches families quickly and the 'second disaster' of an unorganized response is avoided."

Here is its list of food banks in Texas likely to be affected by Harvey:

Houston Food Bank

Galveston Food Bank

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria)

Corpus Christi Food Bank

Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont)

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (Pharr)

Brazos Valley Food Bank (Bryan)

Central Texas Food Bank (Austin)

San Antonio Food Bank

People With Disabilities

Portlight Strategies facilitates projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. The organization says its hotline for Inclusive Disaster Strategies has received urgent requests from people in need.

Kids

The Texas Diaper Bank, based in San Antonio, works to meet the basic needs of vulnerable babies, children with disabilities, and seniors. It focuses on providing partner agencies with diapers and goods.

Animals

The SPCA of Texas is organizing evacuations of pets in Texas (including 123 cats from a shelter in Corpus Christi) and offers resources on pet-friendly housing for evacuees.

Austin Pets Alive! says it has transported more than 235 animals to its shelter. The organization seeks donations, as well as people who can adopt animals. It says it has received so many donated supplies that it's running out of storage space, so financial donations are what it needs most.

Resources found HERE