Barbara Burnside, Conference Disaster Response & Mission Coordinator, was among four volunteers from New England who traveled to Rockport, Texas, earlier this month to help with flood recovery efforts there. Also volunteering were Bill Wong, Pat Coulter, and Tim Murphy.
The New England folks worked with groups and individuals from Michigan, Denver, Texas and New York to tarp roofs, muck out houses and remove debris, then clean up mold. We did a lot of listening.
We worked on the home of a single mother with two young children. She works two jobs - one is an overnight security job where she takes the kids with her. She worked alongside us when the baby was sleeping, and was apologizing that she couldn't help more. It was heart-breaking!
There is so much debris that they are piling it in the medians of some highways.
Before the hurricane, growers expected a banner cotton crop, but cotton that was not baled in time was ruined - almost looked melted - in the storm (see photos).
The First UMC of Corpus Christi housed and fed us - this was truly the “Ritz” of disaster response accommodations: Hot breakfast most mornings, warm showers, dinner a couple of
nights and lunch fixin’s, as they say, every day.
While housing volunteers the church is losing the revenue it makes from community members who pay to use the church’s gym. They are willing to make this sacrifice for their neighbors, their brothers and sisters in Christ, whose lives have been devastated.
We were so grateful, but let the new volunteers know how unusual it is to have a church large enough to offer this ministry.