Alabama Tornado Relief 2011 – Update: May 11

We had the FEMA workers visit the office on Tuesday afternoon.  They seemed pleased with our efforts, our processes and the responses we are getting.  (We had just received about 10,000 tshirts from Carruso Christian T’s, very nice ones.)

Bob Little and Ron Davis from ALSBOM toured the sites in Sumter and Greene Counties.  Bob will be providing us with lists of things needed.  We are planning to make deliveries this weekend.  Any of our churches sending workers out are encouraged to find out needs and get them filled with items here at the PBA.

FEMA plans to have a worker with us for our next pastors’ breakfast, Tuesday May 17 at 9 am.  The worker will explain the process for getting help with repair etc on homes.  I hope that pastors, or a representative, from churches with members needing to apply for FEMA help will be present.

Today we had a visit from Red Cross Workers.  We talked about the need for having shelters identified and resources in place for them here in Pickens.  We sent them on to visit with the folk at Reform City Hall.

Alabama Tornado Relief 2011 – Update: May 10, 2011

relief items organized
The pastors decided at the prayer breakfast that we proceed as quickly and efficiently as we can to dispense the goods being received at the PBA to people in need. Our target areas continue to be Geiger, Tishabee/Forkland, Sipsey and Reform. The focus will be on food, paper goods, personal care and summer clothes. If any of our churches who are going to other impacted communities or who have “refugees” staying in their community have needs for any of these items, let us know.

We will store some of the excess on the large trailer that we have at the PBA. We have received 360 insulted cups today and 5 pallets of Christian T-shirts. We could use some help storing them this afternoon, it looks like. Call the office to check on this.

I participated in a conference phone call from the state convention and DoAMs this morning. We heard from several of the missionaries working in the high impact area. Heard some miracle stories. We need to get ready to transition into other phases. Here are some possibilities for us here in PBA:

  • Resettling persons who are forced out of Tuscaloosa
  • Providing places for volunteers who come to rebuild to stay during the summer—this would most likely be in the Gordo and the Aliceville areas.
  • Plan to take our blockparty trailer and the clowns and workers to some impacted communities this summer and fall.
  • Help those who have been damaged to work with FEMA for help.
  • Continue to provide goods to persons as they resettle and get started up again.
  • If Habitat comes to rebuild homes in our area, we will seek to help as needed.
  • And we will be open to helping churches destroyed in the area to rebuild.
  • We need to work with Kenny Gibson and EMA to set up a disaster plan with shelters and supplies. He was not able to attend the breakfast today, so we will reissue the invitation. I have heard that FEMA will be setting up here tomorrow. So, Kenny should have more info for us on next Tuesday.

Alabama Tornado Relief 2011 – Update: May 9, 2011

Pickens County WomanI have confirmation of why the leaders of Pickens County in 1927 erected a memorial statue on the courthouse lawn of a woman working on knitting needed items. This was and is a very unusual monument. Few other courthouse lawns have similar monuments. THE WOMEN OF PICKENS COUNTY ARE WORKERS AND KNOW HOW TO GET IMPORTANT THINGS DONE. Today we have honored one such woman, Gaye Pate, at a memorial service. Several are working through donations coming in here.

We have received many donations from several sources which the women of Pickens County have been sorting by size and packaging to send along to victims of the April Tornadoes. Presently, we are targeting three rural communities:

  • Geiger—the mayor and Mt. Calvary, along with Bob Little are our contact persons who are letting us know what is needed and who are getting stuff to those in need in that community. This morning we sent some stuffed animals from West End down, along with some personal care items, cleaning materials and first aid supplies.
  • Forkland-Tishabee—we are working with New Friendship and Christian Valley with Bob Little being our contact person. He will be bringing a list of needs to breakfast tomorrow. We will send the needed supplies down later in the week.
  • Sipsey—Mt Pleasant has been leading our response to the needs of that community and that church, along with Highland, has been working up there, providing food and lots of love. We are committed to work through these churches to supply resources to that community. They can do followup work related to salvation and discipleship.

Our Arbor Springs Church is helping the Boley Springs community in Fayette. We will provide some supplies from what we have collected to support that effort..

Friendship Church is working with Chapel Hill and with Hackleburg. They have some teams coming in May 15 and could use help with

Carrollton and Reform First have been working with Rosedale in Tuscaloosa.

Stansel has teamed with Five Points to deliver supplies.

Our Disaster Relief Team has worked around Reform and will go to Zion next week. Gordo First has worked in Zion and elsewhere. Aliceville First has also worked in Zion. (I am sure that there are other efforts that should be included here. Let me know so that they can be.)

Terry Billings is keeping frozen food at his processing plant. He is taking some of this to Sawyerville. He is willing to slaughter beef for the folk who need food. He also shared that he would also keep and distribute frozen vegetables. We may share some of the items coming to the PBA with Sawyerville.

I am hearing that there is a great need for cleaning supplies. We have received materials Emmanuel, Calvary, West End, New Salem, St. Johns, Shady Grove and other churches. We have also gotten some cash and checks.

I see this as a several month ministry with the focus changing as recovery happens. Also, we are already having “refugees” from Tuscaloosa and elsewhere resettle, at least temporarily in Pickens County. We will be called upon to help them with items from the Baptist Center.

Alabama Tornado Relief 2011 – UPDATE

We have set up a reception center for items being donated for tornado victims. With only the announcements you made at church on Wednesday and word of mouth we have already received quite a lot of items. We are getting clothing which we are sizing and separating and repackaging in sets of several changed. This will allow us to fill orders from the churches/communities we are helping.

We have gotten enough personal care/hygiene items to put together about 50 kits to distribute.

We have gotten toys, some food stuff, shoes, etc. Caruso’s is sending an assortment of severaL hundred Christian T-shirts. Lighthouse Christian Products is sending 360 insulated cups. A Church in Chicago is sending a misc. truck load. I am hoping that we will have lots of stuff coming in Monday from our affiliated congregations.

We have had some nice money donations, some of which we are using to round out the personal care kits that we are preparing.

New Salem has been staffing, with some help from PBA, the reception and packaging center. We will need more volunteer this coming week. Call the office to schedule: 367-8632.

Bob Little has gone to Geiger and gotten requests for specific items. JC Bryant is taking some down today.

Bob Little will also be in contact with the Forkland/Tishabee area and have specifice requests from there.

Glen Sandifer and Mt. Pleasant are working with Sipsey for the long haul. I took some parishable stuff to him to take on up tomorrow. And I hope that he will be getting specific requests to us on Tuesday.

Again, our plan is to send requested items to the three places we are seeking to aid, not just sending a pile of stuff to a community and dumping it on them. We will seek to be good stewards of what is intrusted to us.

Now, here are a couple of stories–one good and one bad.

We are told that FEMA has denied help to Geiger because not enough of the persons there went to “shelters” after the storms. Apparently, the FEMA folk do not understand rural folk. We know how to make do. In many instances the folk in Geiger found shelter with kin and friends. This is putting strain on these Samaritan like folk. More evidence that communities and churches with some aid from elsewhere can manage a response to a crisis better and more effeciently than bureaucrats.

Now for the good story. Most of you will remember February of 2005 when 4 churches where burned in our area. The association and the state convention provided lots of help to these churches although they were not members of either group. Our Westend church which had lost a building to a fire about 20 years earlier provided shelter to workers who came to work on the Dancy and the Galilee churches in the very building that they had received help in rebuilding.

About a year ago, Bob Little, while working at Lifeway in Tuscaloos, became acquainted with some of the leaders of New Fellowship over in Greene County. He and his two associate pastors began preaching at this church on the two Sundays each month when they held worship. Bob with the help of PBA and the Friends of Greene County provided resources for New Fellowship to complete its stalled building program.

When the storns came through a neighboring church, Christian Valley, was destroyed. That church will begin worshiping on alternate Sundays at New Fellowship.

The churches that have been helped have remembered their blessings and become a blessing to others. sound Christian to me.

One more thing. We helped our first refugee from Tuscaloosa to resettle here. I imagine that there will be several more in the weeks to come. Think about this. Do you know of housing that might become available?

I hope that all of our pastors who are free on Tuesday morning will come to breakfast at 9am. We have invited Kenney Gibson from EMA to speak to us.