Alliance Relief Efforts Span Three States

When Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast, nearly 1 million people were left homeless. Two Alliance churches in New Orleans fell victim to the flooding when the city’s levees broke. The church members evacuated to several different cities. From the day after the storm hit on August 29, Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) , the relief arm of The Alliance, has been on the scene with help in several locations.

“CAMA’s strategy is to work alongside local churches,” says CAMA director, Phil Skellie. “We are not there to tell people what to do. We get the funds to people who already have a plan in place.”

Since Katrina hit the tropical southern beaches of New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama, more than $255,000 has been given to CAMA through The Alliance. Distribution is determined by need. “$9,000 was donated to Alliance Bible Church in Baytown, Texas, for scholarships for evacuee children to attend the church’s school,” says Skellie.

Similar efforts in Arlington and Houston, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Waveland, Mississippi are underway. “Six months’ rent has been paid for one family,” says Skellie. “And the Vietnamese First Alliance Church has reached out to evacuees from New Orleans’ Asian community.”

Rev. Don Young, pastor of Genesis Church (Alliance) in Foley, Alabama, had work crews in Waveland two days after Hurricane Katrina demolished the Gulf Coast. Water, food, and clothing met the immediate needs of the towns’ 7,000 homeless residents. “We went from serving 200 to 5,000 meals a day in the past three weeks,” says Young, who is partnering with other local churches to provide long-term assistance in rebuilding Waveland. “We’re in it for the long haul,” he says.

Plans are underway for the establishment of community centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans that will provide occupational training, counseling and material aid to evacuees. “The goal,” says Skellie, “is to see communities of faith emerge as people respond to Christ’s love as expressed through compassionate deeds and the Word. Our assistance is given regardless of how people respond spiritually, but those who desire all God has to offer them, will receive help for both body and soul.”


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