A message to church leaders from Reverend Scott Rogers, ABCCM’s executive director:
With Hurricane Irma breathing down our necks and the great compassion of our congregations who want to wrap their arms and resources around their neighbors, ABCCM has received a number of calls about what the City/County emergency plans are and asking: HOW CAN WE HELP?
ABCCM is tied in closely with the County FEMA Director, Jerry VeHaun, who is in charge of managing the City/County resources for opening emergency shelters. If he decides that we have stranded travelers from the impacted states or displaced homes locally from flooding, then he will decide where, when and how many emergency shelters to open. He will work initially with the Red Cross to open these emergency shelters in pre-determined schools and/or church gymnasiums that already have cots and food staged to meet needs. Jerry or the Red Cross will then get in touch with me at ABCCM and/or other agencies to draw on resources that we have committed to him.
ABCCM will join other shelter providers in declaring Sunday night and Monday a “Code Purple” and activate our vans to pick up homeless persons who are most at risk during the storms. We will allow them to stay 24 hours a day at the Veterans Restoration Quarters and Steadfast House for the two- or three-day duration of this event. It will cost ABCCM about $25 per person each night that we do this. For example, 40 people will cost $1,000 that has not been anticipated for food, toiletries, water, extra staffing, etc.
ABCCM’s Crisis Ministries that are downtown and around the county will be fielding requests from stranded families for financial emergency assistance. This could be help with gasoline, or an overnight stay in a motel, fixing a car, etc. We will have clothes, blankets and shoes, as needed.
What can churches do to help? First, consider taking up a love offering for ABCCM to help cover the many unexpected costs which both homeless facilities and our four Crisis Ministries will incur. Second, collect food, blankets and clothes that can be taken to any of these sites to meet the needs of our neighbors. Third, contact volunteer coordinators at any of these locations to help with intake, cook teams, counselors, to be faithful friends. New volunteers will be trained and plugged in to help around these ministries.
You may call ABCCM’s main number at 259-5300 and we will connect you with the ministry director or volunteer coordinator of your choice. You may also go to ABCCM’s website: abccm.org – and click on the ministry to what to support and find the volunteer coordinator’s or program director’s name and phone number to connect directly with them. Lastly, please pray for a glancing blow from these hurricanes so that we might be best equipped to meet the needs of those impacted by these storms.
In His service,
Reverend Scott Rogers