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Churches of God helping with disaster relief in wake of Hurricane Katrina
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Churches of God helping with disaster relief in wake of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane-relief efforts have started up in various Church of God ministries and congregations. Two The Journal was aware of at press time were projects undertaken by the Ohio-based United Church of God an International Association and a project of an East Texas congregation with ties to sister congregations in several states, the Church of God Big Sandy.

Hurricane Katrina, with 160-mile-an-hour winds, slammed the Gulf Coast early on the morning of Aug. 29, inflicting an almost direct hit on New Orleans, La.

Suffering devastation as well were Biloxi, Miss., and other population centers along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The disaster may prove to be the nation's biggest naturally caused calamity since 1900, when a hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, killing, according to some reports, 8,000 to 10,000 people on Galveston Island and the mainland.

The United Church of God has announced its Katrina Disaster Relief Project to help members of the UCG who were affected by the hurricane.

In a press release, the church said it is encouraging its members to take up fund-raising projects, "some or all of the proceeds of which they can dedicate to this disaster-relief project."

The church also requests members as much as they are able to contribute cash to the cause, because of the "damage and dislocation caused by this hurricane."

The greatest concerns, said the press release, are food, clothing, emergency shelter and transportation.

Monetary contributions sent to the UCG Relief Fund should be mailed to:

United Church of God
P.O. Box 541027
Cincinnati, Ohio 45254, U.S.A

Donations to the UCG for disaster relief should include a note to the effect: "This contribution is for use by the Good Works Program in funding the Katrina Disaster Relief Project."

Local UCG congregations are mounting their own efforts. For example, the UCG congregation that meets in the Big Sandy, Texas, area is working with ALERT, owners of the former Ambassador College campus, in its disaster-relief efforts to help affected members of the general public.

ALERT is housing several dozen evacuees from the New Orleans area, as are hotels, churches, schools and Red Cross centers around East Texas.

The local UCG is providing meals and other help to the evacuees staying in former Ambassador College dormitories at ALERT, two miles east of Big Sandy.

Two relief fronts

Dave Havir, pastor of the Church of God Big Sandy, says his congregation plans to attack the situation on two fronts:

  • Financial.

  • Nonperishable food items, air mattresses, cots, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, towels and washcloths.

The Church of God Big Sandy plans to make its donations available to any hurricane victims, not just Church of God members.

"From my point of view, the main two purposes of our congregation are to establish roots in our community and to help scattered brethren of the Church of God," Mr. Havir said. "This tragedy gives us the opportunity to fulfill both purposes."

To make financial contributions, write the Church of God Big Sandy at:

Church of God, Big Sandy
P.O. Box 690
Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A.

To make donations of food and other items, call (903) 636-4600 to make arrangements to drop them off at the church's building.

Mr. Havir recommends that people who are not residents of East Texas donate such items to local charities and churches rather than shipping or bringing them to Big Sandy.

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