As of November 20, more than $860,000 has been donated to the EPC’s emergency relief funds for hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The fund for Hurricane Harvey has received $575,541.54 toward relief efforts in Texas; the Hurricane Irma fund for relief in Florida has received $159,250.67; and the Hurricane Maria fund for Puerto Rico recovery has received $126,862.25.
In addition, $21,000 has been donated to the Mexico Earthquake emergency relief fund, which was set up at the request of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. The Mexican body is a fraternal partner of the EPC.
“In this week that we celebrate God’s generosity, I praise the Lord for the magnificent generosity demonstrated in support of our hurricane disaster relief funds this fall,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “We continue to work closely with the EPC churches in areas affected by the hurricanes to ensure we can get these funds to them as quickly as possible.”
Recovery efforts in southeast Texas continue, with Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Houston serving as the resource center for Samaritan’s Purse in the area. Pastor Richard Harris said that Samaritan’s Purse has hosted more than 2,800 volunteers at the church during the recovery effort.
“That is a Samaritan’s Purse record for disaster relief work,” he said.
Brad Starner, Director of Church Finance for New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers, Fla., expressed gratitude for the donations to the Hurricane Irma fund.
“We thank God and the EPC for the goodness of His people through our denominational family,” he said. “Almost all of us in Southwest Florida lost trees, electricity, water, internet, and lots of little things from our homes. However, some of us lost considerably more due to flooding and wind damage. In particular, we have families with extensive damage to their homes and property which will require months of rebuilding and repair.”
Starner noted that Immokalee, a largely migrant agricultural community southeast of Fort Myers, was hit especially hard by the storm.
“Immokalee was devastated,” he said. “In partnership with First Baptist Church of Immokalee, we sent teams of volunteers and supplies to those in need—many who simply could not live in their homes due to flooding and wind damage,” he said. “We continue to support those relief efforts directed by our Missions Council, which is taking an active role in caring for those effected by the storm.”
On November 20, the Office of the General Assembly received a check and note from a member of the New Hope congregation, which read,
Please accept the enclosed donations for Hurricane Maria Relief. My daughter, Lily, had a birthday party and collected donations instead of gifts. She also sold brownies and lemonade to add to the donations.
“While it is certainly a blessing to see the amount of money given to these relief funds,” Jeremiah said, “the spirit (and act) of generosity displayed by Lily—who turned 12—and her friends touched me in a way that is hard to describe.”
Each of these emergency relief funds remain open for donations. Gifts can be made online (Choose “Emergency Relief” from the first pulldown menu and the specific fund from the second pulldown menu,) or checks made payable to Evangelical Presbyterian Church with the appropriate fund noted on the memo line and sent to:
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
5850 T.G. Lee Blvd., Suite 510
Orlando, FL 32822
“We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” Jeremiah said. “Thank you for your generous, sacrificial response in helping those in need in the EPC.”