Church leaders team up with recovery groups - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Church leaders team up with recovery groups

March 8, 2007

Americus -- Just one week ago, many south Georgians prayed for protection from devastating tornadoes. Since then, many thanked the Lord for their survival and prayed for help recovering. Now local churches are coming together to try to answer those prayers.

The Sumter County Christian Coalition met with storm victims and various agencies. Five Americus churches came together recently to begin a mission. One known as "Operation Saving Americus." They've divided the city into five sections. Each church will reach out to people in one section to help them on the road to recovery.

The mission here in the command center in the back room of a church, is to help storm victims. The Sumter County Christian Coalition wants to make sure people get the support they need to rebuild their homes and lives.

"It's good to have the mental and moral support, and that's what we're bringing to the community," said project coordinator Marlon Sims.

Marlon Sims of Union Tabernacle Baptist Church says the people here need more than material things and financial assistance other agencies can provide.

"People have the tendency to turn to their ministers and their pastors for advice anyway. So this is just something that we're going to do anyway," said Sims.

That's why area religious leaders are teaming up with other disaster relief groups such as FEMA, GEMA, the Red Cross and local elected officials. The agencies and church leaders met for the first time to discuss ways they can come together to meet all the needs of storm victims.

"We need to partner with the community because the community is going to be here long after we're gone," said FEMA Community Relations Specialist Michael DePaolo.

"We thought it would be important to get here, along with the Red Cross and a few other agencies and find out what is available and what is the questions they have."

Church, political, and service organization leaders come together for one reason, to help the community. And that's just what the Christian Coalition wants to see happen.

"At the beginning of the day we'll all combine together as one. We're still man, the common man, and we're still one, and we're here to help people," said Sims.

People who have a long way to rebuilding their lives, a mission the Christian Coalition will help the community accomplish.

The Christian Coalition is gathering donations and has handed out several hundred hygiene, food, and medical kits. They are asking people who can donate to bring items to one of the five Americus churches involved:

1. Union Tabernacle Baptist Church

2. Friendship Baptist Church

3. Restoration Baptist Church

4. Big Bethel Baptist Church

5. Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Needed donations include: lawncare tools, bottled water, non-perishable food, hygiene products, clothing, and monetary contributions are accepted.

The Coalition will hold another public meeting Monday at 6 at Union Tabernacle Baptist Church on Adderton Street in Americus.

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