As chaos following Hurricane Katrina quells and communication with victims becomes established, campus and youth ministries across America continue to report on the safety of their staff workers in Gulf Coast but are asking for donations to fund relief efforts.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) has set up a special Gulf Coast Fund to support their staff and student work in Louisiana and Mississippi.
"When one suffers, we all suffer," said IVCF President Alec Hill, citing 1 Cor. 12:26 in an email update to U.S. staff members.
Staff of InterVarsity's National Service Center in Madison, Wis., also took time during their Annual Day of Prayer on Sept. 7 to pray for those affected by Hurricane Katrina and for IVCF campus ministries.
IVCF staff members who were impacted by the storm included New Orleans campus staff, Myron Crockett, and his wife, Alyssa, who had both evacuated to Houston before the hurricane. However, within a few days, he returned to Louisiana to help with relief efforts through Interfaith Fellowship Church in New Iberia, which is pastored by the father of a chapter member at Tulane University, reported Hill.
Southeast Regional Director Bruce Alwood wrote that "the region is on the front end of addressing funding issues, student recovery and shepherding issues and we need to consider the long term questions of how to support our colleagues."
Campus Crusade for Christ International
Other ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCCI) are planning to mobilize hundreds of thousands of college students to assist in immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts in disaster zones.
The U.S. Campus Ministry has posted a list of relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi that are in need of volunteer workers at www.campuscrusadeforchrist.com/katrina. The relief projects begin this weekend and are categorized as "Immediate Need" or "Crisis Need."
In the face of so much suffering, Im thrilled by the generous, co-operative spirit of so many who want to help," said Jim Topmiller, National Director of Development for the U.S. Campus Ministry, in a statement released by CCCI. Students are getting ready to go. Were partnering with churches, denominations and Christian relief agencies."
In addition to providing manpower, CCCI will be coordinating other relief efforts through its ministry divisions.
Global Aid Network (GAiN), CCCI's international humanitarian aid ministry, is already shipping to disaster zones 10,000 personal care kits, each containing 3 bottles of water, 3 high-energy food bars, and special waterless wipes for bathing purposes.
Here's Life Inner City, the urban ministry of Campus Crusade, is sending three tractor trailer loads carrying 4,800 wool blankets and 30,000 pounds of food valued at $80,000, which were intended for fall outreaches.
Campus Crusade will also be partnering with the Christian Emergency Network to make use of CEN's resources, prayer tips and volunteer opportunities on its website.
"Our hearts go out to those who have lost family and friends, and whose lives have been devastated by this event," stated Mark Gauthier, National Director of the U.S. Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade.
While The Navigators said it was grateful to report that all of its staff members are safe, it named one staff family who was directly impacted by Katrina.
Willie and Margie Page, Navigator military staff serving at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, sustained minor damages to their homes but were without electricity for a few days. On Friday, Sept. 2, Navigator members Mike Kotecki and Bill Mason drove to Biloxi from Florida to deliver food, water, and gasoline to the Pages, according to a report posted on the Navigators website.
The Navigators will be collecting donations for the Pages and other hurricane victims in Biloxi.
On Wednesday, MercyWorks, the relief arm of Youth With A Mission, in Tyler, Texas, sent a semi-truck carrying water, food and baby supplies to Gulfport, Miss, along with a team of 20 YWAMers who will distribute supplies, set up a kitchen for preparation and distribution of hot meals, and begin clean up.
A second truck was scheduled to leave Thursday carrying mainly water to hurricane affected regions, according to YWAM's website.
In response to a high demand for Bibles, the MercyWorks team will also be distributing Bibles and doing grief counseling.
Meanwhile, the condition of YWAM's eleven buildings in New Orleans remains unknown. Among them included a drug rehabilitation center and a crisis pregnancy center. Last week, Debbie Lascelles of YWAM Tyler's MercyWorks had told the Christian Post that she has received word that all YWAM personnel are safe.
Alongside requests for monetary donations, campus ministries and other Christian organizations mobilizing for relief efforts have also requested one more thing: prayers.
"This is a time to be in prayer for those families, that God would comfort them and meet them in their hour of need," Gauthier said. "And, this is also a time that we as a ministry can demonstrate the compassion of Christ toward those who are hurting."
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Gifts may also be sent to Madison and designated to the Gulf Coast Fund.
Donations to the Pages or hurricane victims in Biloxi can be sent to:
P.O. Box 6000
Colorado Springs, CO 80934
MercyWorks has set up two relief funds, one for hurricane victims and the other for YWAM New Orleans. Checks designated "YWAM New Orleans" or "Hurricane Relief" can be sent to:
P.O. Box 3000
Garden Valley, TX 75771-3000 USA
Correction: Monday, Sept. 12, 2005:
An article on Friday, Sept. 9, 2005, about reports of U.S. campus ministries in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath incorrectly identified Alec Hill as the Vice President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Hill is actually the fellowship's President.