If you, like most people, have been watching in shock and horror over the past few days as our neighbors to the south struggle with the devastating loss and after-effects of Hurricane Harvey, you may be wondering what you can do to help. While opportunities abound with lots of organizations who are dedicating time and resources to providing relief to those in need, please know that our First Church faith community is in full force as we provide assistance both to those affected by Hurricane Harvey who have come to Fort Worth — and those who live in any number of affected communities devastated in this hurricane.
Among our prayers and concerns and need to be of help, we also have questions. Here are some common questions our First Church family is asking, along with the most up to date information and answers we can provide.
How can I help?
Early Friday afternoon when projections of the coming storm were at their most dire, our church set up a special Hurricane Relief Fund so that we could respond quickly once the needs were determined. There are several easy ways we can give to support the relief efforts our church is part of, including:
- Give online using the Quick Give button and selecting “Hurricane Relief” from the drop-down menu.
- Make your check payable to FUMCFW, with “Hurricane Relief” in your memo line, and bring it to the church and/or drop it in the offering plate on Sunday.
- Text 817-241-2327 and enter the dollar amount and Hurricane Relief in the message bar. You must have a ShelbyGive account set up with the church in order to Text to Give.
- If you haven’t already, now is a great time to download the Shelby NEXT Giving App to enable giving right from your smart phone.
More opportunities will arise later, sign up to receive updates on how you can help. Here’s what you can do now:
- Flood Buckets
This Sunday, September 3, our youth will be assembling cleaning buckets containing supplies that enable people to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after a flood. The congregation is invited to assemble buckets after the youth complete their shift at noon in the Justin Youth Building.
- Harvey Bags
Volunteers are needed at First Street Methodist Mission, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm to help distribute groceries and assemble Harvey Bags.Update: Linda Murphy, Director of the First Street Methodist Mission reports that with the tremendous response from our congregation to their request for volunteers to help assemble “Harvey Bags” this past week, we have plenty of Harvey bags now ready to go! “Thank you so much to all who responded!” she adds. “Over the next few weeks as we assess further needs, we’ll be setting up a dedicated “Harvey Bag Assembly Day” to replenish our supply as needed.” Sign up to receive updates on volunteer opportunities.
Join our First Church Faith community in prayer for all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, as well as the members of our Early Response Team as they go south to serve:
God of all creation, we pause to pray for all lives affected by Hurricane Harvey. We pray for those families who have lost loved ones, for those who have lost their homes and possessions, and for those physically harmed and emotionally distraught. We also pray for First Responders and for the many volunteers graciously coming together to help those in dire need. Please accept our prayers, our generous offerings and our outreach to our neighbors in South Texas.
Reverend Chuck Graff
Got more questions? Here are answers to just a few. Please watch for updates as they become available!
Q: There are so many funds to donate to, why give money only to our church?
A: The money you donate to FUMCFW Hurricane Relief will be used for the relief activities our church is sponsoring, including:
- funding Harvey Bags for families in town who are providing shelter
- equipping and sending our Early Response Team (ERT)
- serving those who come if we become a shelter
- assisting people affected as needs arise
- supporting The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) with any remaining funds; UMCOR donates 100% of funds received to relief efforts
Q: Will the church be used as a shelter for people displaced by the Hurricane?
A: Not at this time. As of August 28, the City of Fort Worth has opened two emergency shelters that will be managed by the city and Red Cross. To volunteer for the Fort Worth Harvey Relief efforts, register online. If the city asks us to, we will open our doors to evacuees and we will need volunteers so please sign up for updates.
Q: Will a team go to Houston to help clean up?
A: Our Early Response Team (ERT) has been invited to serve by the Rio Texas Conference and will leave within the next 10 days. If you are not a part of our ERT now, but would like to be in the future, be sure to sign up for our next training session to be held January 27, 2018.
Q: What are we doing locally for families who are hosting family and friends displaced by Hurricane Harvey?
A: Our First Street Methodist Mission is already ramped up and providing increased services. Having received extra bulk donations of food, diapers, and infant formula, our Mission volunteers are busy at work assembling what we’re affectionately calling Harvey Bags. Prepped and ready for pick up, each Harvey Bag will provide three premade bags of groceries, an assortment of personal necessity items, as well as any additional meat, groceries, and essentials available to us. If you have an immediate need for additional food and supplies for family members and friends you are hosting, or know of someone who does, please contact the First Street Methodist Mission.
Contact: Rev. Chuck Graff | firstname.lastname@example.org | 817-339-5065