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by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, September 1, 2017

We have all seen the damage wrought on the Texas coast by Hurricane Harvey. Maybe you have wondered, "What can I do?" Our congregation has designated funds to help in moments like this. I, also, wanted to share this resource published by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. May our thoughts and prayers be with the victims of Hurricane Harvey. ~ Jake

5 Things Your Congregational Can Do ~ by Jeff Huett

Individuals and churches wanting to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey are invited to consider partnering with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in the days to come by making financial gifts and by forming volunteer recovery teams.

“And the gifts of money and time from some should be undergirded with prayer and patience by all,” said Alan Williams, coordinator of CBF’s U.S. Disaster Response.

CBF Disaster Response, in partnership with CBF Texas and Fellowship Southwest, have continued reaching out to the more than 100 CBF partner churches in Houston and other communities along the Texas Gulf Coast. They are coordinating a response with other partners, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), as well as other local and national partners, including friends in the North American Baptist Fellowship.

Below are some things you and your congregation can do in the days ahead alongside CBF to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Distribute this list in your church newsletter or via social media.

1) Pray — In a city as large as Houston and its surrounding areas, it is possible, even likely, that you know someone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Pray for families who have lost everything they own and first-responders who are giving everything they have to save lives. Pray for communities as they cope and as they heal.

2) Give — As CBF helps get people and communities back on their feet over the long-term, financial resources will be necessary. Please consider a gift to the CBF Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund here.

3) (And Give Wisely) — CBF is not accepting donations of items for those affected by the flooding in Texas. CBF has learned from experience with other disasters that it is much more efficient and cost-effective to provide funds that allow CBF Disaster Response personnel to procure supplies as needed.

4) Organize — As search and rescue efforts give way to recovery, CBF will begin providing information and accepting registrations for volunteer teams to travel to affected areas. In the short-term, these groups will be muck-out teams, removing mud and debris from flooded homes. In the future, these teams will help rebuilding efforts. Keep an eye on the CBF website and social media for more information on volunteer opportunities. Visit:
http://www.cbf.net/harveyvolunteer/.

5) Think: long-term — In keeping with CBF’s focus on long-term impact, CBF Disaster Response participates in networks seeking to help communities after a devastating event, but employs most of its resources on the long-term recovery, rehabilitation and resiliency of a community after first-responders have finished their work. This takes time and planning.