CO M M U N I T Y ST R O N G AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE
By Esther Lynn Hemphill
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
When disaster hits, there’s an immediate and innate response for us to jump in and to start helping. As quickly as we could get the truck fueled and a load packed up, we traveled over to Callaway and Panama City to distribute generators, fuel, batteries, tarps, and ice. We had physically prepared ourselves for the trip based on the initial images of the damage being shared through media. However, as we inched our way through the dark and mangled streets, caught in a miles-long line of other work trucks and relief efforts, we realized that no photo can truly convey the widespread devastation that has struck this community and its families.
We’re here to help you as you help others.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 NLT
We at Sharing Hands Network want to help you as you reach out to help our neighbors. This is God’s vision and exactly what Sharing Hands Network was established to do! We encourage you to use our web app, http://SHN.co, to discover where and how your support is needed.
We also ask you to let friends and family know where they can find resources, in both the northern and southern parts of the affected counties, to help them through this period of recovery and restoration.
A steady stream of support will be needed.
Numerous collection and distribution points have been set up, displaced families are being relocated, FEMA intake centers have been established, temporary shelters have been opened, blood drives are underway, and community work teams have been assembled. All of which need our help.
We want you to know what support and resources are needed, how those needs are shifting as the relief efforts progress, and how to be involved in a way that is both impactful AND safe.
We will strive to keep you updated as cleanup progresses and as relief organizations shift from temporary to permanent locations to better serve the community.
In addition to the disaster relief resources that are being assembled, there are numerous organizations in our community that support us year-after-year and can be called upon for clothing, food, and others resources. These can also be found at SHN.co.
Not all damage can be seen.
Many of our neighbors have suffered losses that cannot be restored. While insurance and government support will help with the rebuilding and restoration of physical assets, many of our neighbors are dealing with the fear, anxiety, and depression that follows such a traumatic event. We encourage you to reach out in acts of kindness, to speak out with words of comfort and encouragement, and to keep them in your prayers.
As our neighbors continue to believe in faith that their homes and lives will be restored, and as they hold onto the hope for a swift return to normalcy, we will continue to show our love for them through our actions of support…for the greatest of these is love.
Esther Lynn Hemphill is CEO of Sharing Hands Network whose mission is focused on building “healthy and happy families, strong and engaged communities.”
Go to http://SHN.co to learn more.