Ministries coming alongside those overcome by Harvey

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
 | Staff (

Hurricane Harvey flooding Aug 2017Faith-based disaster assistance teams continue to put their faith into action for victims in Texas whose lives and property have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

By the time Harvey made landfall Friday evening, it was a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph – bringing rain, rain, and more rain. Next came the Texas Baptist Men.

"Our feeding unit is feeding Texas Task Force 1 and 2, which is the tip of the spear for the state of Texas Search and Recovery," says Mickey Lenamon, who heads the ministry.

Texas Baptist Men – comprised of both men and women, all volunteers – is the traditional "go-to" group, according to former Texas governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry. "In every one of our major disasters, Baptist men were out there," Perry stated this week.

Harvey is producing flooding that will likely displace around 30,000 people and leave hundreds of thousands without power. Lenamon says the necessities for life come first, then Texas Men will be there to help get homes in order.

"We will be going into the shelters and feeding the [people in the] shelters, plus we have shower units that go in," he describes. "We also have chainsaw crews; [and] we have 'mud-out' [crews], people who put on Hazmat suits and, once the water has receded, will go in and actually help people clean out, scrub out, sanitize their home."

Ready to move in and help

Many areas affected by Hurricane Harvey are still closed off by flooding. As the waters recede, Samaritan's Purse is prepared to respond with a mobilized army of volunteers to minister to homeowners both physically and spiritually.

"We have pre-positioned [our] disaster relief trucks and materials outside Dallas and will be moving into the hardest hit areas as soon as we are given the all-clear by the state authorities," says Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse.

The ministry reports that two shower trailers, one kitchen trailer, two supply trailers, and mobile generators are en route.

Graham adds: "We hope that over the next few months there will be thousands of volunteers who will want to come and help those whose homes have been damaged by this destructive storm."

It's a long-term commitment, says Lenamon. "We've been told by FEMA, the national group, this will probably be the largest natural disaster to hit the United States – ever," he emphasizes. "We're told that once we respond that we should plan to be out a minimum of three months to a year."

And that might not even be long enough. New Orleans still hasn't fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina, which struck 12 years ago.

Food for the weary, the needy

Another faith-based relief organization might be looking for more volunteers soon to deal with hurricane damage in Texas.

Virginia-based Mercy Chefs is one of the organizations trying to provide meals, initially to first responders and then to victims. Ministry founder Gary Leblanc is in Rockport, Texas, where the infrastructure is badly damaged.

"Right now we're doing about 2,000 [meals] a day," he shares, "but when our second team gets into Houston on Wednesday we're be doing about 20,000 meals a day."

Houston floods August 2017Volunteer chefs are still arriving to prepare restaurant-quality meals. Each cooking unit has three to six chefs and 15 to 20 volunteers. Mercy Chefs reaches out so some of the needy don't have to go far for their meals.

"In Rockport we're starting to send meals into the neighborhoods and to the people," he tells OneNewsNow. "Our first priority was to take care of the search-and-rescue teams and the law enforcement in Rockport, and we've done that .... Now we're able to move into feeding the victims, and by the weekend we'll be ready to feed volunteer teams that come in to help clean up."

Currently Mercy Chefs has ample volunteers but will be accepting applications soon via their website as they move into the Houston area, which continues to reel from flooding.


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