Heard it Here

Wake Forest Students Cover Downtown Winston-Salem

First Presbyterian Church Volunteered in Houston to Provide Relief for Hurricane Harvey

Hannah Lafferandre strapped on her mold mask and entered the Houston home through a torn down garage door to a pile of debris that reached the top of the door. “It was hard to see how this community has been torn apart by this disaster,” said Lafferandre, a Wake Forest University student and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

She was one of 45 members of the First Presbyterian Church who returned on September 28th after volunteering in Texas with Hurricane Harvey relief.

In addition to volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church, 30 were from the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity, and the final 25 volunteers were members of the Baptist Hospital.

They flew in to Houston on September 24th, where they spent the first day driving in St. Beaumont, Texas assisting with the cleaning of homes that received 25 inches of rain.

The Presbyterian Church collected water and cleaning supplies before making the trip and nearly reached their goal of raising $10,000 in supplies. They collected these donations at the Prime Tyme Soul Cafe in Winston-Salem, according to the First Presbyterian website. Donors contributed $9,100, so a small fee was asked of the volunteers to cover the remaining $900.

Their $10,000 goal was necessary to cover the costs of mold masks for all the volunteers, according to the First Presbyterian website. With the accumulated water inside the homes, mold has already begun to grow, posing great risks to the volunteers if not properly equipped.

At the beginning of this first day of volunteering, they began by assembling with Douglas Memorial CME Church in St. Beaumont for prayer before starting the work for the day. They also held prayers with the affected citizens of the hurricane.

The volunteers split up into groups of 20 and went to work on the homes on Ewing Street, the homes right by the Douglas Memorial CME Church.

“The cleanup for each house took longer than we all anticipated due to the amount of debris,” said Lafferandre.

They assisted government groups like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross that were already stationed in Houston.

The First Presbyterian Church, Baptist Hospital, and the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity combined to cover all costs associated with the trip to Houston.

The volunteers’ home base was Houston’s First Baptist Church, where most of their meals were eaten, courtesy of the Baptist Church.

The Presbyterian Church partnered with BeBee Tabernacle C.M.E Church, located in Houston, Texas. This was the area of Texas that received the most rainfall, with upwards of 40 inches. Pastor-Reverend Anthony Reed of BeBee Tabernacle was delighted to have the Presbyterian Church volunteering. “They were very cooperative, they came each day eager to help with the cleanup operation.”

“This is the most important time to be utilizing the church, despite the damage it has received,” said Reed. “We must come together in times of disaster and loss.”

“While we helped with the physical help of the hurricane relief, it was equally as important to establish a network with community leaders and faith leaders in the Houston community,” said Lafferrandre.

Presbyterian members provide global relief as well as relief to downtown Winston-Salem. In the downtown district, the First Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall will service as a temporary overflow homeless shelter for people without shelter during the cold days of winter.

For more information on their future relief missions, visit their website http://1stpres.com/welcome/




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