By Kelly Wise Valdes

Faith Groups Provide The Bulk Of Disaster Recovery, In Coordination With FEMA

In a disaster, faith-based organizations are integral partners in state and federal disaster relief efforts. They have specific roles and a sophisticated communication and coordination network.

If you donate bottles of water, diapers, clothing or any other materials to hurricane victims, your donation will likely pass through the hands of the Seventh Day Adventists before it gets to a storm victim. That’s because the Adventists, over several decades, have established a unique expertise in disaster ‘warehousing’ collecting, logging, organizing and distributing relief supplies, in cooperation with government disaster response agencies.
Likewise, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is known for its expertise in ‘case management.’ After the initial cleanup, where the Methodists have work crews and trained volunteers to help families navigate the maze of FEMA assistance, state aid programs and private insurance to help them rebuild their lives.

The Convoy of Hope, a non-denominational organization, specializes in feeding. Before Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, the organization staged trailer trucks stocked with food, water and other supplies parked in the state waiting to deploy to areas hardest hit. In major disasters, the organization will set up feeding stations, sometimes at FEMA’s request.

Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical aid group run by Rev. Franklin Graham, had trucks at the ready in Florida with chainsaws and debris removal experts to help clean up as well as contracting services available to help the needy rebuild their homes.

For more information or to make a donation, visit The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) is actively helping FEMA channel disaster assistance into the affected areas.

Free Supplies For Your Church & School?

With budgets tighter than ever, churches and schools need to be creative in doing more with less. Yet, many dismiss one very real resource because they’re convinced there must be ‘a catch.’ But it’s not too good to be true.

That resource: gifts-in-kind organizations. These organizations collect donations of new merchandise from U.S. corporations and redistribute it to its not-for-profit members, including churches and schools, for free. This includes art supplies. janitorial supplies, sporting goods, tools, toys, software, books and media, personal care items, party goods and more. Churches can browse catalogs of donated supplies and request what they need, saving on supplies and limiting churches and their teachers’ out-of-pocket costs.

What’s the catch? There isn’t one. Typically, members pay a modest annual membership fee, plus nominal shipping and handling costs. Large U.S. companies are the donors. They’re taking advantage of tax deductions, reducing storage costs, clearing warehouse space, and avoiding hassles with liquidators. And instead of clogging landfills, they’re putting unused goods to use. Savvy churches and schools nationwide are taking advantage of this service to stretch their budgets. For more information, visit or call 1-800-562-0955.

Website Reviews Christian Entertainment Industry

Today’s Christian Entertainment (or TCE) was launched only a short time ago in January 2016.The site’s mission is to provide reviews for music, films and books.TCE wants to lead fans of Christian entertainment to great quality and family-friendly content. In today’s world, it’s not always easy to find that. With so-called ‘faith-based’ entertainment out there that only wears the costume of Christian appeal, TCE will inform its audience to real and meaningful entertainment that will make an impact and difference in people’s lives.

Previous articleFaith & Footprints: October 2017
Next articleHooked On Christian Books It’s Time To Fall-Back With A Good Book
Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.