Now that Hurricane Laura has blown through the Gulf Coast, it’s time for families to begin rebuilding their lives and property. Two leading Christian relief organizations, Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Blessing, already are taking the lead.
Disaster response specialists from Samaritan’s Purse are working alongside local government officials and church partners to determine the areas of greatest need. One Disaster Relief Unit, stocked with relief supplies and tools, already is on the way to Lake Charles, La., and another tractor-trailer is standing by.
Before the storm hit, the international Christian relief organization staged disaster response teams and equipment at its Southwest Ministry Center in Dallas, ready to rapidly respond to hurting communities immediately following the storm.
READ: Lake Charles hit hard
“Louisiana families are struggling after Hurricane Laura caused severe damage to homes,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Please continue to pray for everyone in the storm’s path and our teams as they prepare to provide critical relief to people who are hurting.”
Teams of volunteers will go out each day to help homeowners remove downed trees, clear debris, tarp roofs, mud-out flooded homes and salvage any personal belongings that may have survived the storm. Chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team will also work alongside Samaritan’s Purse to provide emotional and spiritual encouragement to families affected by the hurricane.
Operation Blessing arrived in Louisiana shortly before the storm hit and is helping those in need in the midst of Laura’s devastation.
“Operation Blessing and our assessment team are on the ground in Louisiana,” deployment manager Blake Mueller said. “We’re ready to serve the community, specifically with the construction trailer that we already have here, filled with materials to do tarping on roofs, mucking and gutting of houses that have been flooded, and tree removal with our chain saws, and any kind of debris cleanup that’s needed for the community here.”
Operation Blessing’s team will be working around Lake Charles and surrounding areas, connecting with local church leadership to see what the needs are in those areas.
The ministries are responding to a disaster of human making as well. The Rapid Response Team also has crisis-trained chaplains to Kenosha, where the area is in turmoil with violent protests surrounding the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“As the unrest continues, we were invited by local church leadership in Kenosha to have our chaplains there to minister to the community,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the RRT. “We are praying that in such a tragic situation that God will use our chaplains to bring the peace and comfort that we know only comes through Christ.”
Blake was shot multiple times by a police officer after officers responded to a domestic incident. Protests began shortly after the shooting and turned deadly Tuesday evening when two people were killed and one other person was injured. Dozens of businesses, many black-owned, have been burned to the ground but not before being cleared out by looters. In once incident, a car dealership was set ablaze, even as the owner had posted a sign supporting the theme of Black Lives Matter.
For more information or to donate to hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse or Operation Blessing, visit www.spvolunteernetwork.org or www.ob.org/#donate-now.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice