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Did You Know? Faith-Based Groups Are the Tip of the Spear in Hurricane Recovery

09-12-2017

When disasters hit the homeland even the federal government acknowledges that faith-based groups are invaluable in bringing relief to the victims.

Even before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck their targets Christian relief organizations like CBNs Operation Blessing and Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse were mobilizing to bring help.

Even as the storm rolled in, Operation Blessing delivered water and snacks to people sheltered in a public school. 

OB also has 350,000 bottles of water and 19,000 Meals Ready to Eat, plus overlooked necessities like disposable diapers, tissue, paper towels and feminine hygiene items.

Samaritan's Purse was the first relief agency to arrive on the island of St. Martin, not only bringing supplies but evacuating stranded American tourists who had no way of getting home. The group also has a 53-foot trailer with tools and equipment to clear debris and shore up homes damaged in the storm.

Those are just two of many faith-based groups, which FEMA relies on to help victims of natural disasters. In fact, the agency sees them as invaluable.   

"FEMA cannot do what it does so well without the cooperation of faith-based non-profit organizations and churches," Rev. Jamie Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, told USA Today

Some of the other groups involved in helping victims are Adventist Relief Organization, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Convoy of Hope and many local churches, which serve as distribution centers and a source for volunteers. lslamic, Buddhist and Jewish relief agencies also serve in disaster situations.

"About 80% of all recovery happens because of non-profits, and the majority of them are faith-based," said Greg Forrester, CEO of the national VOAD. 

"It's a beautiful relationship between government and the private sector and it is something to behold," Johnson said.

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