The Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the South is doing its part to help with tornado relief efforts.
Many of those in the path of the devastating tornadoes are just beginning to grasp the full impact of the storms that swept across the South.
The Anglican Church in North America has 18 parishes in Alabama, the state that was hardest-hit by the storms and members across the country have committed to pray and to give through the Anglican Diocese of the South.
The funds are already making a difference. The Diocese, led by Bishop Foley Beach and in partnership with several Anglican Mission in the Americas parishes, has gathered volunteers and delivered two busloads of supplies and food to Northeast Alabama tornado relief centers.
“The tornadoes, which ravaged the Southern United States, left thousands homeless, over 300 dead, and countless lives turned upside down. It is very difficult to fathom 226 tornadoes (a U.S. record) in one day and the destruction they caused. For me it was a privilege to help out in a small way by joining a small team to deliver food and goods,” said Bishop Beach.
The volunteers left Loganville, Ga., on Sunday, May 8 and picked up donations at churches around Georgia before making the trek to a nearby Walmart to buy supplies to fill the rest of the bus.
In addition to those within the Diocese and the wider Anglican Church in North America who have given generously to the relief efforts, volunteers were met by complete strangers at Walmart who walked up and opened their wallets when they realized what was happening.
“As we prepared for the trip, we kept praying about where exactly we should go. We wanted to go to places which might have been overlooked,” Beach said.
St. Andrew’s Church in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that Flat Rock, Ala., was in dire need of supplies for its relief center. The community center that was transformed into the relief site serves over 3,000 meals a day to victims and relief workers.
When the Anglican Church bus arrived on May 9, the relief center director informed the volunteers that they had run out of food the night before. According to Bishop Beach, “She told folks, ‘The Lord will provide.’ The next day, we showed up with a busload of food.”
But the volunteers didn’t stop at just one load. After unloading at Flat Rock, the volunteers used remaining funds to go to a nearby Walmart and fill over 20 carts to reload the bus with supplies for another relief center.
“We were led to Rainsville, Ala., and were told they needed tents, pillows, mops, brooms, and the like,” said Beach. “We bought Walmart out. Like the Walmart in Douglasville, Ga., they gave us a discount. While loading the bus, a young county emergency worker came up to me and asked if we could please bring some of the items up to Rainsville. When I told him that is where we were going, he teared up and said, ‘Praise the Lord!’”
At both stops, Bishop Beach and the other volunteers prayed for the leaders of the relief centers, that they would have the Lord’s strength, empowerment, wisdom, and provision as they did their job.
“What we saw was horrific. The power of wind is amazing and the destruction was tragic. Homes were completely gone. Businesses were in crumbles. Tents were outside of what one could tell were wonderful homes. Trees were mangled and twisted like the strings on a mop. It was a stark reminder of our human fragility and need for God,” Beach noted.
The volunteers “took time off work to go load and unload a bus, to ride half the night, to sweat most of the day. There was not one complaint. A servant spirit is what I observed. Hopefully, someone will take another look at Jesus because of our witness and service for Him and to Him,” said Beach.
The Anglican Church invites you to please continue to pray and give as you are able to assist the victims of the storms.
Bob Graham, a lay person from St. Andrew’s, Huntsville, has been conducting interviews and posting pictures. For more information, visit www.stormHOPE.org.
Please view this powerful video showing the Anglican Diocese of the South in action, helping those in need:
Photo captions (top to bottom): Bishop Foley Beach and the team in front of the bus; some of the 23 Walmart carts that were filled in Douglasville, Ga.; inside of the bus leaving Walmart; storm damage. Credit: Bishop Foley Beach