This past Sunday’s Oak Creek Fire Relief Event was a tremendous beginning! I was overwhelmed by the way the church organized and came together in three short days to gather clothes, household items, furniture, food, and financial donations to help the households affected by the fire at Oak Creek Village.
Seven area churches came together to make Sunday a success. And we will need to continue working together if we are going to continue loving and following up with the displaced households. All Saints was joined by the efforts of The Gathering Church, Church of the Good Shepherd, Chapel Hill Bible Church, Cresset Baptist, Hope Valley Baptist, La Cosecha, and Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Over fifty volunteers from All Saints alone were on hand to receive, organize, and distribute donated items from noon to six this past Sunday. Our volunteers were amazing. Thank you for everyone who contributed so much time and energy!
The folks who were displaced by the fire came at 4 o’clock and took truckloads furniture and donated items back to their new apartments to begin putting their lives back together. However, they took back more than just physical possessions – they left knowing that they are loved and cared for by the body of Christ. It was deeply meaningful to interact with and the displaced families in the midst of their loss. In the last four days we have also collected over $20,000 in financial donations for displaced families!
The evening news even showed up and did a little story on the event. CLICK HERE to check out the story! I have also placed a bunch of pictures at the bottom of this post.
The success of Sunday should not distract us from faithfully following up with the displaced families in the mid to long term.
Now it is time for phase two of our response!
Phase two involves setting up relief partners with each household affected by the fire. These partners will covenant to walk with the displaced households for at least the next three weeks in order to pray with them personally in their homes, see what they still need, assess financial need, and help them to access available services.
All the residents have moved, but some in are greater need than others. We have many folks in the community who are making furniture available, but we need to know what each household still needs and we also need to work out the logistics to get the available furniture to them. These relief partners will take responsibility for one family and coordinate care and help! Many of the households are only Spanish speaking, but not all.
Would you be willing to be a relief partner?
Would your small group take on this important role for the next three weeks?
Do you know someone who would be good at this and who have the time to do this?
The initial contact can be a phone call and I will email you all the contact information you need.
This commitment needs quick response.
If you can do this, we need to connect you with your household within the next day or so and you need to make contact by Thursday. Please forward this email on to any in your congregation that would be able to step into this important relationship.
These partners will help us determine how to distribute the money we raised to the victims. It is also my prayer that these partners will have an opportunity to pray for and share their faith in Jesus with those they are walking with in the midst of this tragedy.
Please respond by emailing THOMAS KORTUS (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also -please get in contact with anyone who you think would have the gifts and time to be a relief partner!
Any ideas or input? Please let me know!