I'm sitting in bed, catching up on the many regular blogs I read but missed after Hurricane Ike (read about the human toll) brushed on through. Many of the posts I read made reference to the storm and its affects as it hit them in places like Arkansas, Indiana and Pennsylvania. In one blog, I noticed a mention of our church and a letter from our pastor, Chris Seay on the efforts of volunteers and the small ways people can help out. I wanted to repost it here in case anyone reading would like to help, but are unsure as to how to get involved.
A few days earlier, one of my sisters contacted me about coordinating a relief drive among her students in Florida, and it made me realize how much compassion still remains in a world that appears to be so self-absorbed under normal circumstances. Of course, I say this with a tinge of guilt as I enjoy electricity, running water, and air conditioning after only a few days being without, while many others aren't even close to having these luxuries restored. Even so, I still wanted to spread the word. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via Clark Kent's Mailbox.
The following is a letter by Chris Seay, lead pastor of Ecclesia in Houston, Texas:
My Brothers and Sisters,
I am not sure how clearly the national media is telling the story of the devastation in Houston and Galveston, but I can tell you that the rare combination of a massive storm that filled the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that it struck Houston and Galveston ( a combined population of close to 5 million people) has created a disaster of immense proportions. The majority of the city is still without power and clean water and almost everyone has some kind of damage to their residence or business. Houston, which became known as a city of generosity and hospitality after Katrina, is now experiencing what it is like to be on the other end of that kind of generosity.
Ecclesia is thrilled to be able to represent the broader church as a source for light and love to so many hurting in the devastation of this storm. We will continue to need teams skilled in debris removal, demolition, and construction for much of the coming year. If you are willing to send a team, we will work to provide lodging and logistical support for your teams. We are longing to have brothers and sisters that will demonstrate the love of the Liberating King as they help families in a time of dire need. In addition to those that will come and labor alongside of us, there are some immediate financial needs that would help us to serve the region and share the hope of the gospel. There are three areas of immediate needs:
1)Relief Support - any donations to relief support will go to purchase chainsaws, tools, food, van rentals, water, generators, temporary employment for relief coordinators, and necessary items to support relief teams. We are estimating the immediate need for relief support to be more than 25,000 dollars. If you are able to purchase any of these items in your area and have them delivered to Houston, this would be preferred over local purchasing. However both can be accommodated.
2)Financial Relief – for those suffering financially because of loss of property and income, we would like to offer a short term assistance package. For countless families and individuals struggling to make it financially before the storm (hourly wage employees, immigrants, and single mothers), the last week has often been devastating. We hope that the federal government will improve in their response time, but the church is able and willing to fill this gap. If you would like to give specifically to this package we will distribute the following on your behalf. In the case of single mothers we intend to double the assistance.
$150 Mortgage/Rental Assistance
$100 Grocery Card
$50 Gas Card
$20 Basic Toiletries
Gospel of John (VOX)
We will attempt to continue or begin a long-term relationship with all assisted families and will offer this assistance to as many as possible.
3) Taft Street Coffee as a House of Hospitality - You may know that Taft Street Coffee (the coffee shop owned and run by Ecclesia) is rated each year as one of the top 3 coffee shops in the entire city. This morning we had our power restored and would like to re-open the shop as a site for those still without power. We estimate that over the next three weeks many would benefit from a centrally located house of hospitality that offers air conditioning, a free lunch, coffee drinks, Wi-Fi, phone service, children’s play space, and spiritual support. If you would like to sponsor the food and operational costs to run Taft Street Coffee as a gift to the community, we estimate that cost to be $850 per day.
If you have any questions you can contact me (Chris@ecclesiahouston.org) or our Mission Pastor John Starr (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am grateful for the love and support of the entire church to my beloved City.
In Service to The Liberating King and His Kingdom,
Pastor – Ecclesia Houston
Houston, Tx 77006
You can read the letter as part of the original full post on Don Miller's Blog. You can also read more about Ike and view some of the devastation here.
There is also a relief fund to make donations through their website if you'd like to help. Any support they receive will be greatly appreciated I'm sure, especially by the victims.