(Photo: Convoy of Hope)
As residents in Moore, Okla., recover from the damaging effects of an EF5 tornado which ripped through the center of the state on Monday, a faith-based outreach organization is teaming up with celebrity singer Joe Jonas to provide relief to the local community.
Convoy of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit which works internationally to provide disaster relief and community outreach, is partnering with Joe Jonas of The Jonas Brothers on-site in Moore today and tomorrow to provide necessary supplies, including food, water, and emergency equipment to residents hoping to gain some stability after seeing their homes ravaged by Monday's tragic natural disaster.
After supplying the community with necessities such as food and water, Jonas and the nonprofit volunteers will transfer into supplying cleanup supplies, such as trash bags, so residents may begin to clean-up the damage caused by Monday's tornado, which tore through 13,000 homes, multiple schools, and a hospital, killing 24 people in its destructive path.
Jeff Nene, national spokesperson for Convoy of Hope, told The Christian Post on Friday that the most important aspect of providing on-site relief to the people of Moore is to remind them that there is hope for a better tomorrow.
"We are praying that God would grant these people hope. For so many people, today is so dark," Nene told CP.
"For a lot of them, this is the lowest point in their lives, and if they could have hope for tomorrow, they could realize that tomorrow's going to be better, and that God has a great ability to take a bad situation and turn it into something wonderful," Nene added.
While today Jonas and Convoy of Hope will focus on providing emergency supplies, tomorrow they will dispatch teams of volunteers into damage zones, designated safe by officials, to help clear debris.
Nene told CP that one of the most important additions Jonas brings to the table is an audience.
"Joe has a sincere desire to help people in need," the nonprofit organization's spokesperson commented. "He uses his celebrity to encourage people to do good works. Any time you can find that, it's a positive thing."
Ultimately, Nene told CP that although his organization works as a catalyst to help those affected by natural disasters recover, it is the Holy Spirit who is truly guiding the suffering to a better tomorrow.
"The Lord has a major role in helping people take that next step. That inner strength has to come from somewhere, and I believe that's the Holy Spirit in our lives," Nene said.
Convoy of Hope is one of many relief organizations, including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, focusing their current efforts on aiding Moore, which is currently dealing with nearly $2 billion in damages, with officials saying that number is likely to rise.
Other celebrities donating their time and money to Moore include country singer Carrie Underwood, who recently announced she will be donating $1 million to her home state through the Red Cross, and fellow country singer and Oklahoma native Blake Shelton, who will be holding a "Healing in the Heartland" benefit concert in Oklahoma City on May 29.
Convoy of Hope works to provide children's feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing on a global scale.
Since its founding in 1994, the nonprofit has helped 55 million people internationally.
One of the cardinal principles of Convoy of Hope, according to Nene, is for the organization to earn the right to share the Gospel by having a lasting, helping presence in various communities.
A primary way the organization earns this right is through its annual community outreach tour, in which the nonprofit visits towns in all 50 states during the summer to provide an outdoor carnival/festival to those poorest in the community.
The day-long festival includes local businesses, government, law enforcement, churches, ministries and organizations all working together to serve those least fortunate in the community.
Not only does this festival help the community to create relationships, it also provides beneficial resources such as free medical screenings, job fairs, and resume writing, among other things.
While some organizations stay in a town temporarily to provide relief after a disaster, Nene says Convoy of Hope is in it for the long haul.
For example, the nonprofit still has teams set up in Joplin, Mo., which was rocked by a tornado in 2011, and in New Jersey and New York, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
As Nene told CP, Convoy of Hope plans to make an outlasting impact in Moore by continuing to do community outreach, whether it's through tornado relief or the summer tour, for months to come.