Relief after the storm

Local churches and organizations look to lend a hand after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

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  • | 12:43 p.m. September 8, 2017
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Nothing shows off the triumph of the human spirit more than when society is faced with a disaster.

Although it’s been more than a week since Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall since 2005, hit Texas in devastating fashion, the state continues to fight an uphill battle.

Currently, there is believed to be more than a million people who have been displaced from their homes.

Despite human impact and the economic toll, which is estimated to be between $150 and $180 billion, the people of Texas are not alone in their fight.

Donations of food, clothing, money, and supplies from all over the country have made their way to the Lone Star State, and local churches and organizations around Winter Park and Maitland have been doing what they can to lend a hand.

At Winter Park Presbyterian Church, cash donations are welcomed as means of support, while St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church will take up second collections to raise money to go to relief efforts.

The congregation at Maitland Presbyterian Church, led by Pastor Megan Collins, is one such group that has tried their best to help alongside  the nonprofit Clean the World Orlando.

“They have had open volunteering days this week to pack toiletries kits for people in Houston, and we have been encouraging our folks to go,” Collins said. “That’s a group we have partnered with for a long time, but especially now it is great that they have a really easy way to volunteer — you just show up and you can pack kits.”

The organization specializes in collecting and recycling unused toiletry items from hotels to help prevent waste and hygiene-related illnesses.

Along with Clean the World, Collins said the church is also participating in the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, a national organization that helps with both relief and recovery. The group also trains members in its churches to provide ground support at disaster sites.

Collins said the main goal is getting members of the church to collect an assortment of items such as non-perishable food and clothing, while hoping to work alongside other community groups.

“I’m eager to help in any way that I can, and eager inspire people in my church and my community to help in any way than can too,” Collins said. “We have to all pull together when this stuff happens, and with a storm this size, it’s going to take people from all over the country pulling together for a long time to help rehabilitate the cities there in Texas.”


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