(Photo: Facebook/Thomas Road Baptist Church)
As the East Coast continues to recover from the massive coastal storm that hit a number of states hard this past weekend, Thomas Road Baptist Church in Virginia has been stepping up its efforts to help thousands of people in need of food and water.
"Our church staff and more than 450 volunteers have rallied together to provide a comprehensive relief center on the church campus," said Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor. "We are offering water, ice, meals, overnight sleeping areas, medical services, shower facilities, cooling areas and even a section for pets."
This week alone, Thomas Road Church has joined forces with several other ministry partners to distribute 400,000 bottles of water, 30,000 bottles of Gatorade, 10,000 large bags of ice and free meals to residents in Virginia who now also have to battle a heat wave that is sweeping the eastern states.
"I met with my team early Saturday morning to map out our relief efforts," Falwell explained. "We put together a solid plan and our people have been incredible. I am so thankful for Thomas Road members. Many of our volunteers are also dealing with personal challenges that have resulted from the storms and power outages, yet they are here to help others in need. It's a wonderful picture of the love of Christ."
The church has also opened its doors on a 24/7 basis allowing nearly 500 people to stay overnight and take advantage of sleeping centers, air conditioning and electricity. Affected residents of Virginia and surrounding states had to go for days without any power after the strong coastal storms this past weekend.
Other church and ministry organizations that helped with the effort included Gleaning For The World, the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, Liberty University, God's Pitt Crew and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services.
Local utilities were still working Thursday to restore power to half a million customers, including about 230,000 people in West Virginia, according to The Associated Press.
Thomas Road Baptist Church is still accepting online donations for anyone wishing to help with the crisis in Virginia and surrounding states.
Members of the community have gone on the church's Facebook page to share their gratitude for their work.
"Thank you Thomas Road Baptist Church, you have always and continue to serve our community! Thanks again!!!" wrote Theresa Aaron.
"God bless you for your work and love that you have shown your community. I wish that all churches knew how to be the hands and feet of Christ like you guys do! You are a true example of what Jesus wanted all of us to be," added Christine McCall Seeley.
Pastor Falwell did not respond to a request for comment from The Christian Post by press time. Thomas Road Baptist Church held its first Sunday service on June 17, 1956 and was founded by the current pastor's father, the late Jerry Falwell.