Churches Provide Relief to Hurricane Victims
This is a story about a group of our sister churches. We are a part of this. And thank you so much for all that you do to make this kind of thing happen.
On Thursday, November 1st, the Great Lakes Conference office reached out to
the East Coast Conference office to discern ways we could support our
Covenant Churches serving regions and families who were impacted by
By Monday, November 5, with the blessing of Conference Leadership, the GLC
dispatched a caravan of 30 volunteers from Detroit and Toledo to respond to
the needs of East Coast Conference Churches serving storm victims. In
addition, the churches of the Great Lakes Conference collectively raised
more than $32,000 in special offerings to provide support to ongoing relief
The relief efforts were organized to support three Covenant Churches:
Promised Land Covenant Church, South Bronx (Pastor Michael Carrion), Metro
Hope Covenant Church in Harlem (Pastor Jose Humphreys) and Hope NYC in
Astoria (Pastor Drew Hyun). Promised Land and Metro Hope are partners with
the Interdenominational Disaster Relief effort (IDDR), a strategic response
to the disaster formed in collaboration with the National Latino
Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) and other faith-based organizations. Relief
operations were coordinated from the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, where
food, water, blankets and first-aid supplies were collected and
redistributed, along with emergency responders and counselors, to areas
worst hit by the storm.
“This is the worst natural disaster to hit our state,” said Rev. Dr.
Michael Carrion, pastor of Promised Land Covenant Church and a NaLEC board
member. “The neighborhoods that we are serving were not prepared to
withstand, let alone recover, from an event of this magnitude. We have been
overwhelmed by the stories we have heard coming back from some of the
harder-hit areas. Some of the volunteers who went out to serve returned
weeping, traumatized by what they have seen.”
While many areas in New York suffered relatively minor damage, several
low-income neighborhoods along the coastline, including Staten Island,
Coney Island and the Far Rockaways in Queens suffered the worst damage,
leaving these areas in conditions that many volunteers on-site compared to
the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina.
“More than 40 people have died in New York since the storm hit,” Carrion
said. “Bodies are washing up along the coastline in Staten Island. A young
mother trying to find shelter during the storm watched her two children get
swept out of her arms to drown. People who were able to evacuate have
returned to find their furniture floating in water. Those who were not able
to evacuate have been without power for days and don’t have food or clean
water. People were looting and rioting on the first day because fear was
high and the need was great, but resources were few. The greatest areas of
need are in neighborhoods that were already neglected for years. Those who
had the least options are experiencing the most suffering.”
One volunteer serving in the relief efforts had lost his home to flooding.
“I don’t have a house to return to…but I am grateful to be alive. So, I
figured I might as well serve,” he said.
Because of the quick efforts and generosity of the Churches, the Great
Lakes Conference was able to carry more than 3 tons of food, water,
blankets and other supplies to support the relief efforts. New Harvest
Church in Toledo, Ohio, also arrived on the scene with a mobile medical
unit, nurses and trained emergency workers. Although the relief operation
is providing a highly organized and strategic system of delivering the
right supplies to the right areas, the need is so overwhelming that the
supplies carried by the GLC ran out in less than 12 hours. The abundant
giving of the conference, however, enabled the response team to purchase an
additional two truckloads worth of supplies.
“We express our sincere appreciation for the partnership and support of the
Covenant, and we are grateful that you are a missional Church,” said the
Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguedo, President of NaLEC.
“We thank the GLC for its investment here,” said Howard Burgoyne,
Superintendent of the East Coast Conference. “We are blessed.”
“We are grateful for the Mission Friends of the Great Lakes Conference,”
Carrion said. “Your support and love was overwhelming. The need is great,
but we are deeply encouraged by your love in action. Please continue to
pray for us.”