Saturday, leaving coastal towns underwater and thousands of inhabitants in need
of help, Christian groups from across the nation responded quickly to the crisis
with truckloads of supplies.
warehouses and distribution sites were in place in the strike zones before the
storm made landfall,” said Doug Stringer, founder and president of the
Houston-based Somebody Cares America (somebodycares.org), an
award-winning relief ministry whose staff and volunteers rode out Hurricane Ike
even as their Houston offices lost power and had windows blown out.
items and cleaning supplies,” Stringer said. “The devastation is wide, and the
needs are extensive up and down the Texas Coast and into Louisiana.”
victims of Ike, leaders from relief organizations are complaining that maybe not
enough attention is being paid—at least not when compared to the damage
inflicted by Hurricane Katrina three years ago.
Horan, president of Operation Blessing International (ob.org). “Folks down here are in a
state of shock, plus they are hot, hungry, thirsty and wondering where the
cavalry is. They need a lot more help than they are getting and they need it
devastation the way it was with New Orleans following Katrina, so most Americans
are unaware of the massive damage and suffering that we are seeing.”
outpouring of Christian involvement both before and after the massive storm
struck. One ministry out of Springfield, Mo., staged its relief trucks a safe
three hours away from Houston before the 500-mile wide hurricane pummeled the
desperate people right now,” Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope
(convoyofhope.org), said last weekend as his trucks moved into the area
on the weak side of the storm.
Americans to come together, to reach out to people who have lost everything they
packed semi-trucks in North Carolina days before Ike made landfall in order to
head south and “help people who just won’t have the ability to pick themselves
up,” said Kirk Nowery, the group’s chief operating officer.
hoped to introduce residents to the gospel. Nowery said that Franklin Graham,
president and chief executive officer of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association, told him before they pulled out for Texas: “We’ll get
as dirty as we have to get to earn the right to share the gospel of the Lord
Jesus Christ just one time.”
served as a hub for thousands of state-supplied cots, ready to be distributed to
evacuees and the homeless. “A lot of people just evacuated for Hurricane Gustav
and are now low on cash,” said Todd Haumann, a storehouse manager in Dallas.
their homes again [and] may not have had the time to stock up on supplies.”
toothbrushes, body wash and hygiene kits, World Vision also sees the value in
“play therapy.” The humanitarian giant shipped two pallets of Hasbro toys and
games to help occupy the time of children and families sheltering at the Dallas
Charisma a major challenge his organization faces since Katrina, which
drew enormous media coverage, is how meager the public resources and funding
have been during some recent Gulf Coast storms.
“compassion burnout” and also people being plain “tired of giving to large
organizations that spend [up to] 80 percent of the money on administration
rather than helping those on the front lines.”
Christians to a makeshift office he’s set up at a local Houston parish. “Here’s
what’s amazing,” he said, citing an example. “A church in the ninth ward of New
Orleans that we helped out during Katrina, and other churches we helped to get
them out during Gustav, they were the ones calling us before and after Ike to
say: ‘How can we help you?’
are so much smoother than when we were trying to get things going back then. The
kingdom of God is already established and people are in place,” he said.
only net that truly works is the body of Christ [when it] is looking at doing
what Jesus said, and that is serving people by washing their feet so to
speak.” —Paul Steven Ghiringhelli