The approach of Hurricane Matthew, the first category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007, gave residents of Florida a surprise. Viewing the hurricane’s path, the Church of God members in Miami immediately started thinking of ways to help the community overcome Hurricane Matthew. They helped the community prepare and prevent as much damage as possible.
Reaching out to several different city councils, they teamed up with Palm Beach and Martin County Chapter of the Red Cross. The members said the timing was perfect. The Red Cross coordinator of shelters explained that they added five shelter locations to the original nine they prepared. Furthermore, the coordinator explained that those five shelters did not have enough staff members. In response, the Church of God members happily grabbed the opportunity.
As Palm Beach County residents evacuated the area, the Church of God members began flocking to the area. Church member Tamieka Lucas explained that the underlying mission of the church is, “To help the community and spread the love of Mother.”
Throughout the day, members unloaded materials from trucks and assisted in unpacking cars. They also passed out blankets, toiletries and hot meals. Additionally, they assisted with registration as they guided and helped even Spanish-speaking families settle.
Tamieka realized, “People felt unprepared, nervous, and uneasy. They didn’t know when the hurricane was coming or how to prepare.” She expressed her joy and thanks to be able to help and comfort those in need.
The church members helped in any way possible before returning to Miami. Ammonie Russ, another church member, explained, “They didn’t want us to leave. They kept saying, ‘Wait a little bit longer.’” In the end, she said “Everybody stopped what they were doing and asked to take a picture with us. I felt so special.” Looking back, the members of the Church of God in Miami showed that they are not only concerned for themselves, but also with serving others even in such difficult times.