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GIVING / Relief Efforts

Press Release - 10/16/17

St Thomas Reformed Church

Hurricane Relief Update – October 16, 2017

The beginning of this week brought me a special package! My daughter and her beautiful mother arrived back on island after having been gone over a month (feels like years). Now my daily prayer is that these relentless mosquitoes leave them both alone. I still have not heard a convincing argument why God created mosquitoes.

Before their arrival I had a meeting with different department heads including FEMA. We discussed a transition plan and hope to be phasing out of the triage meal and distribution plan into something more long-term. As we are spending more than$10,000 a week on supplies for distribution, I want you to know your dollars are helping locally purchase items that families literally cannot do without. Moving forward we are asking that you donate with money now instead of mailing supplies as these donations will not only help us get the things others need, but also support the economy here.

While I was at the airport, our faithful volunteers gave out food and supplies to over 300 families. I also noticed one of our own damaged packages in the baggage claim area that has been sitting there for well over a week. We also sent a couple volunteers up to the Long Path Community Center to clean up and prep for our Community kids program. Noel and Lucy are doing great work! They started the week with 5 kids and ended with 25 kids! We will be offering this program daily. Though public school resumed this past week, students only attend for a half-day of classes and we want to help fill the gap. With your help, we are able to. Random people have been stopping me on the Street now to say thank you. THANK YOU! There are many who are truly grateful for these gifts which are sustaining them in this great time of need. Again I thank everyone for your support!

Amidst relentless rain, I was reminded of the old adage, “Two steps forward, one step back.” Even so, eventually you'll get there right? The rains came heavy on Wednesday flooding downtown yet again. One giant step backward. But the rain did not stop volunteers from coming and continuing to serve the neighborhood. Thank you My Brother's Workshop volunteers for sharing your sandbags with us!

The sun eventually broke through the following day as it always does. Our Adopt a Family boxes have begun to arrive via USPS and will be distributed through the shelters and affected neighborhoods. MBW volunteers have already been out distributing theirs. Two steps forward.

FEMA announced the closing of all of their distribution points as of Thursday, October 12. One step backward. STRC volunteers arrived Friday morning to receive, organize, and prepare supplies for another distribution on Saturday morning to over 300 families. Our volunteers are truly the sunshine in my world! The Salvation Army is preparing to open their kitchen again and will start serving meals on the weekend to relieve the MBW crew. Two steps forward. Eventually we will get there.

This week, I was truly moved when I learned that a groomsmen from a wedding ceremony I officiated in May is organizing a relief concert in May and donating the proceeds to our church and My Brother’s Workshop. When asked about his motivation, he replied “Everyone that I met down there was amazing and treated me like family so I wanted to show the same love back!” Thank you Tom! This church, this island, truly is operating as one big family – in the way that Jesus taught us, loving our neighbour like our own self. And you dear friends who have donated, mailed supplies, offered unceasing prayers, written encouraging words, you are a light in dark times. You are truly coming alongside your brothers and sisters in need. Your prayers and support continue to sustain us. Thank you!

Ways to Donate:

Through our website (this will take you to a Paypal link. Add in Memo: Hurricane Relief) -

http://stthomasreformedchurch.org/g-i-v-i-n-g/online-giving/

Mail a check payable to St. Thomas Reformed Church - PO Box 301769, St. Thomas VI 00803. Please add in Memo: Hurricane Relief. Any monetary donations to St. Thomas Reformed Church are tax deductible. Also, we are humbled by the outpouring of support and offer of volunteer crews. If you have a desire to come to St. Thomas and work on this effort, please contact us! We would LOVE to have you. If you're interested, please contact Nicole Jackson, our Youth and Retreat Center Coordinator at youth@stthomasreformedchurch.org.

You can check out more info about MBW by visiting their website at www.mybrothersworkshop.org or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MyBrothersWorkshop

I know many of you may not be on Facebook, but I encourage you to visit our page periodically (it is a public page, so you don't even need a log in to view) to follow our transformational journey, fully replete with highs and lows and just as many miracles. Here is the link for that: https://www.facebook.com/stthomasreformedchurch/

This email is just a snapshot of a few of the things we continue to do working together and it all hinges on your support from afar. Thank you!!

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