Operation Blessing set up disaster relief operations this weekend in Panama City, at Lighthouse Church. When our trucks rolled into the church on Saturday, there were cheers, clapping and tears from the residents to see that help had arrived. Everyone we met was so grateful for our presence and our help. Most of the churches in the area have been heavily damaged, and Lighthouse is no exception. The main building took the brunt of the damage. The roof was torn off and the sanctuary flooded. But the children’s wing was not damaged, and has enough room to house our overnight volunteers. Power and electricity was restored to the church this weekend, and the congregation is eager to help, so we were able to begin operations immediately.
All our equipment is in position, including our Mobile Command Center, Mobile Kitchen, supply trucks and our construction trailer with tools and equipment for volunteer use. Residents are overwhelmed by the devastation from Michael. Internet and cell service is spotty, power and water services are still out in many places, and many suddenly have nowhere to turn for the basics like food, water and shelter.
We are reaching out to them to share God’s love and let them know that they are not alone in this crisis. On Saturday we received about 20 initial work requests from residents and the church coordinated an approximate 75 volunteers. On Sunday following worship, our team served hot meals and coordinated 142 volunteers in 9 teams for scouting and clean-up efforts. Volunteers are arriving with equipment, chainsaws, and a lot of energy to help.
Because of the food and water shortages, we also delivered a semi-truckload of food, water and disaster relief supplies from our Ocala warehouse to the 1st Assembly of God Church in Panama City. Two more truckloads have been ordered to be delivered to Panama City from Ocala this week.
Operation Blessing demobilized from New Bern, NC on Friday, as we had finished our work orders there. Assets and resources from New Bern are being redeployed to Lumberton, NC and to Panama City, FL. In Lumberton the San Juan chefs continue “Pay it Forward” to help us serve meals to residents, and the mucking and gutting of homes flooded by Florence continues. Many of the families in Lumberton had their homes flooded during Hurricane Matthew, just 23 months ago, when they were flooded again by Hurricane Florence.
- Work Orders: 176
- Volunteers to date: 1,165
- Meals to date: 42,906
Our teams have been hard at work bringing them help and hope, which we could not do without your support. Again, we appreciate Grace Church very much and may God continue to bless each and every one of you.