Monday, March 12, 2012

Another trip

To say they were excited is an understatement!

Early this morning Jasmine and Angie were ready to head south once again.  This picture was taken as we unloaded our truck load of supplies.  Today we went to the relief center located in the Methodist church in the small city of Pekin, Indiana.  And let me tell you --- those women were on top of everything!  The lady in charge told me she had been manning the phones for 7 1/2 days straight -- and she was still smiling!  She had just a notebook and pen and was taking detailed information on each caller and their needs.

In the parking lot was a team of men from the Baptist Men's group in Columbus, Indiana and another group from the Nazarene disaster team.  Both were fully equipped with chainsaws and gas and gloves and safety glasses and were off to do some tree demo and clean up.  All had been trained in the use of chainsaws and knew what they were doing.  And they thanked us?  We thanked them right back and wished them well as the skies were doing quite a bit of "dripping" today but it made no difference to them.  They were on a mission -- to bless others!

It's a job to get those big boxes unloaded but the girls were up for the task!

This is what the relief center looked like -- super awesome!  You might think that there's just soooo much stuff -- but remember the number of homes affected, the number of cities hit and the number of people who are now left with nothing -- and then this center looks a bit small!  They were thrilled when they learned what we brought --every single thing they needed!!!! 

Again -- super duper thanks to all who have donated and continue to do so!!!  You are changing lives and rebuilding hope!

After we finished in Pekin we headed east to Sellersburg where FEMA is set up.  President Obama did declare this a federal disaster so the aid is coming in!  Thank you sir!!!!!

FEMA is set up inside of Ivy Tech College there in Sellersburg and what a great set up!  Just as you walk in the doors you are met by Project Aftermath (the blue shirts) who are mental health counselors who are offering free crisis counseling to anyone who feels they might benefit from it.  It's always a good feeling to see them.  We've worked with them over the past 6 years and know the good they do!

After meeting with the blue shirts they are taken into the FEMA office where they can pick up all their paperwork and ask questions and receive their FEMA registration number. 

Small Business Administration (SBA) is also there.  They offer extremely !! low interest rates on loans -- not for businesses but for the survivors.  They also have a packet of information and are there to answer any questions that may come up.

After passing through all that we made our way to the representative of faith based disaster relief organizations -- government and religion under the same roof -- and working together!!!!  How incredible for all the survivors!!!

When we finished up there we were only a few short minutes from Henryville so we decided to head back there so I could check in on Jane, the Catholic Charities rep who is responsible for everything in Indiana south of Indianapolis.  She is swamped and called me early this morning for a bit of encouragement!  She had stepped out just before we got there but we did get to leave a note for her in her "office" --- an old FEMA trailer pulled into the parking lot of the catholic church -- her home for who knows how long!  She was starting case management classes today in hopes of getting people trained to be advocates for the homeowners and help them tap into anything and everything that is out there to assist them in their needs.  Jane will have "boots on the ground" within days and things will start to move forward into recovery!  Go Jane!!!!!

It was also good to see just how much debris cleanup had taken place just since we had been there Thursday!  The bus was removed from the building and workers were going at quite the speedy pace!  The noise level is so loud in cleanup mode -- all the machinery working at the same time --sometimes if's very difficult to hear.  All the workers were lined up at the food station set up in the parking lot of the church and all were so thankful to have food, as much as they want, ready and waiting for them.  Amazing show of God's love!

After all these trips it was time to head home.  We all felt good that things are moving forward and will continue checking in with Jane, Angie (who is running the volunteer center based out of Jeffersonville, IN), FEMA, SBA and the blue shirts. 

As soon as we reached home I started getting more phone calls of people wanting to volunteer.  God's love being shown in practical ways -- gotta love it!

A sign on one church billboard today said "thanks to all of you who are volunteering to help us.  We know you are making God smile."  Well said!

We are contining to receive donations at the Vineyard Community Church weekdays from 9am to 4pm and will soon be moving those donations and more incoming to our disaster relief warehouse!  I had more offers of locations today so hopefully within the next couple of weeks it will all be finalized and then lookout --- here we come!  Please keep this entire project in your prayers!

Until next time . . . blessings to all.                                              Susan and Monty

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