Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Trip

Help send one of our Friends living on the streets of Atlanta to participate on a Safehouse Hurricane Relief Team

The Mission

The National Weather Service has referred to Hurricane Florence as the “storm of a lifetime” for the North and South Carolina region. Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept 14 packing 90 mph winds and heavy rain. As the death toll from Florence continues to rise and hundreds of people are still being pulled from flooded homes, the people of that region are bracing for even more devastation. Forecasters are expecting further widespread river flooding over the next few days that will reach catastrophic proportions. North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons of water, enough to cover the Tar Heel state with a depth of about 10 inches. According to a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, as of Sunday, "This is still a catastrophic, life-threatening storm," and is forecast to be so until at least mid-week.

Along with multitudes of other volunteers across our nation, SafeHouse Outreach wants to help devasted families recover from this disaster.

Since coming on staff at SafeHouse more than a year ago, Nolan English, our director of social services, has dreamed of leading a team of our clients on a disaster relief trip. He served for over a year helping families devasted by Hurricane Katrina and has participated in other disaster response efforts. He knows the overwhelming need for volunteers in the critical time immediately following a disaster. Without swarms of volunteers coming from all parts of the United States, recovery just simply would not happen effectively and efficiently.

Unaware of Nolan’s desire, Dennis Russell, our director of volunteer services, has independently had the same dream since joining the SafeHouse staff at the first of this year. Having lead over 15 disaster relief teams (including hurricane, earthquake and tornado relief), he has witnessed firsthand that “while the government is great about getting the debris from the curb to the landfill, it is the volunteers (specifically, and overwhelmingly comprised of the Christian church) which guts out the contaminated homes and gets the debris to the curb. This is what I have observed time and again and it is a beautiful thing to behold!”

In addition to the critical need for immediately-available volunteers after a disaster, both English and Russell also know the positive life-transforming effect that such a trip can have on the volunteers themselves... and we at SafeHouse want the friends we serve every day to have a chance to embrace this life-giving experience. We know that not all of our friends currently living on the streets of Atlanta are ready for such a trip, but there are those who are, and we are inviting potential team members on an invitation-only basis. We are specifically looking for those who are healthy and who might be ready to enter our Career Development Program (CDP) upon their return. Our CDP is our pinnacle program for helping our friends make the transition from living on the streets to financial self-sufficiency.

Samaritan’s Purse is a well-funded disaster relief organization and they will be covering the cost of the trip while our team is working on site. A generous local church has agreed to cover all other trip costs for our team including transportation. So the only thing left is to gather the personal items that each team member will need to bring. During a typical relief mission, volunteers receive a packing list and gather the items themselves. In our case, we are appealing to our SafeHouse family to help us gather these items for our team members who would otherwise not have access to them. A list of these items is provided in the figure immediately to the left.

Our target departure date is September 23rd, so we will need to order the supplies fairly quickly! The most efficient and cost-effective way to gather these items in time is to order them online from a discount vendor who can have the items available for pickup after two days. If you would like to help, please click the link below, make an online donation, and enter "Florence Disaster Relief" in the "Comments" section. 100% of all money donated will go to Florence Disaster Relief and as soon as our goal is reached, we will notify our supporters here on this page celebrating the milestone! Any excess funds will be forwarded to Samaritan's Purse disaster relief organization for Florence Relief.

It will cost about $175 to completely supply each team member for the trip; with a total of about $2500 to outfit the entire team.

On behalf of Phillip Bray (our founder), Josh Bray (our CEO), the entire SafeHouse Outreach Staff, the team members who will participate, and the families we will help, we thank you so much for your consideration in supporting this mission!

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