This fall was a brutal hurricane season for the United States! Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, and finally Maria. Many are still struggling to put their lives together.
But thanks to ARDF donors, we were able to empower the local church with nearly $500,000 to reach out as the hands and feet of Jesus in their local communities. The following stories are not the sum of the efforts, but examples of how your generosity is transforming specific lives on the ground.
With your help, ARDF raised over $320,000 for relief efforts coordinated by the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast. Working through local churches across the diocese, nearly 100 families have been served to date. And the Diocese is still receiving – and funding – applications for assistance. For example, Father Dale Chrisman and his church, Trinity Anglican Church, are participating in work days to help affected families in Port Arthur, Texas, a poorer area hit hardest by the hurricane. They have collected everything from microwave ovens to socks as donations for Port Arthur families. Thousands of Port Arthur homes were totally or partially destroyed; only 24% of homeowners had flood insurance. Many relief efforts have focused on the Texas Gulf Coast or the Houston area. With your funds, materials were purchased to allow volunteers to rebuild the homes of sixteen families in Port Arthur working through the Austin Disaster Relief Network, a coalition of 180 Austin-area churches (of which Trinity Anglican is a member).
Over $85,000 was collected and distributed through the Diocese of the Atlantic Gulf Coast. After Irma came storming up the state of Florida, a group of churches and other service agencies formed Irmarelief.faith. Since September, this coalition, which includes All Souls Anglican, has organized relief weekends, with participants from all over the Southeast! They estimate that over 2,500 people have been reached through these efforts. Some have received support care bags, some rebuilding assistance, and others food. All have received prayer!
Seeing how grateful the people we helped was so humbling, and I could see Christ through each and every person we met. It truly opened my heart when a man I didn’t know prayed over [our] group when we knocked on his door. He was so thankful and filled with Christ’s love. It was such a beautiful moment.” – Elizabeth Holiday, student from The House, a campus ministry connected with The Mission Chattanooga through Deacon Jason Leonard.
Over $68,000 was collected for Hurricane Maria relief. Working through three partners, ARDF brought needed relief to both Puerto Rico and the smaller island of Vieques. One partner, Water Mission, has now restored clean water to 37 communities! Furthermore, they have played a role in collaborative meetings between FEMA and other other organizations looking at sustainable solutions for water needs. They have also had the opportunity to share the benefits of solar installations. Pray that God would open more doors to this approach, so that the next time the island loses power, communities will not lose clean water!
We at ARDF are so grateful for the generous hearts of our donors, who know that when disaster hits, local churches are best positioned to reach out to the hurting. Should you wish to volunteer in person, you can sign up to help in Texas or Florida through our partners.
Thank you again for your faithfulness to God’s call. I wish you the Merriest of Christmases!
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” – Proverbs 19:17Help raise awareness: