Anybody who hangs out with me long enough is likely to hear all about how much I love the organization founded by Billy Graham's son Franklin called Samaritan's Purse. They do great things all over the world, my favorite of which is called Operation Christmas Child.
OCC directs you to pack a shoebox to the brim with toys, school supplies, clothes and candy, and then Samaritan's Purse hands these out to children all over the world, along with the message of salvation. Last year alone, they handed out 7 million shoeboxes to children in 95 different countries. But I digress...
The point of this post is to provide people with an alternative to giving to the Red Cross. While the Red Cross is a great organization, I prefer to send my money to people who care for spiritual hurts as well as physical needs. This is from the Samaritan's Purse website:
Helping Victims of Hurricane Katrina
Disaster Relief Units in Alabama to Help Devastated Communities Recover From the Huge Storm
Samaritan's Purse teams are clearing debris and repairing roofs in low-income neighborhoods in the vicinity of Mobile, Alabama, an area battered by high winds, torrential rains, and massive flooding caused by a 12-foot storm surge. Our Disaster Relief Units are preparing to work westward into devastated areas of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Our teams are faced with overwhelming needs throughout the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which is proving to be the most destructive storm in U.S. history. Hundreds of people are feared dead across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with thousands of houses damaged or destroyed, roads and bridges washed away, and many communities left without electricity or drinkable water.
Samaritan's Purse is mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to help the neediest victims, particularly the poor and elderly. Our Disaster Relief Units--specially designed tractor-trailers loaded with emergency supplies and equipment--provide crews with chainsaws and other tools to remove fallen trees and debris. Other crews repair damaged roofs and cover them with weatherproof plastic. Flooded houses are pumped dry and cleaned of mud and ruined materials.
Perhaps your church or group would like to send a work crew. We need groups of at least five individuals. Construction skills are helpful but not necessary. Minimum age is 18. If you are interested, call the Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief team at (828) 262-1980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samaritan's Purse works in partnership with local churches to ensure that spiritual needs are met, too. Our teams share the love of Jesus Christ, pray with residents, and present them with a Bible when the work is completed.
We have developed networks of skilled volunteers through years of disaster relief work across the United States. Over the past seven years, thousands of workers have helped us repair 3,300 houses in 14 states. Last year, we helped replace or repair 1,528 houses in Florida, Alabama, and North Carolina that were hit by Hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances, and Jeanne.
Please pray for the hundreds of thousands of hurricane victims along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Remember the survivors who are still trapped by flooding, evacuees who are desperate to learn if their loved ones or homes are safe, and officials who must deal with unprecedented problems. Ask God to guide Samaritan's Purse into the communities where He wants us involved.
Here are some ways your gift can help victims of Hurricane Katrina:
(Slush note - giving should be fun, and isn't more fun to think "I can buy 10 sheets of plywood, a roof, and a case of drinking water" than it is to think "I can give $350"?)
Click here to give help to the victims of Hurricane Katrina