After the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, many people in the Houston area are left without homes and without supplies, but one local campus ministry is set to help with their problems.
Metro Baptist Collegiate Ministry at UA Little Rock is set to travel to southeast Texas throughout the fall 2017 school semester to help families affected by the historic hurricane. The ministry is working with the Calvary Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas through a disaster relief organization.
“All of the houses get looked at and if we get the ticket, we go into the houses and we do the work that they ask us to do,” Said Adam Venters, the Assistant Campus Minister in charge of the trip. “The good thing is that once we pack up and leave, if there’s something that we couldn’t finish, this church is a base of operations for the community so there will be someone there that we can give our ticket to and the next team that comes in, whether it’s us or somebody else, they’ll follow back up on that house.”
Outside of donations, the Beaumont area needs boots on the ground. The group is in a critical phase now that flood waters have receded. They are performing “mud outs,” removing sheetrock to prevent mold growth in recently flooded homes. To help with this process, the ministry needs work teams to remove items from the homes.
“When we do mud out work, it is hard nasty work that has an odor,” said Bit Stephens, a minister with Metro Baptist. “It is people’s lives that have been turned upside down.”
But despite the hard work and dirty working conditions, the outcome will be far more rewarding. The ministry is planning on taking roughly 30 people each per trip. The volunteers will be split into five or six groups, helping five or six homes.
“It doesn’t matter age, gender, or anything like that,” Venters said. “They need everybody and anybody that can carry something as simple as a desk, chair or a printer; all that stuff has to get out.”
Venters has experience with disaster relief volunteer work. Last year, his family members lost their homes to flooding in Louisiana.
“What happens in these kind of situations is that the big areas like Houston get a lot of relief efforts while in the smaller cities, like Beaumont, people might not even know that they are flooded,” Venters said.
Although they need a lot of brawn to help move heavy items like refrigerators, the victims of Hurricane Harvey need emotional support as well.
“It’s equally as important to have people help families sort through personal items,” Venters said. “In those moments during a deep amount of grief, to have somebody to just sit there to help go through personal belongings, and maybe salvage some of it, is a very powerful moment.”
To help with the relief effort, all proceeds from the ministry’s Oct. 17, lip-sync battle will help the victims in Beaumont.
Metro Baptist, along with Genesis Campus Ministry, another UA Little Rock-campus based ministry, plan to go to Beaumont one weekend a month until the end of the semester. They are also planning a week-long trip in December.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re involved in BCM or not, doesn’t matter about your faith preference or anything like that, we just need able bodies,” Venters said.
The UA Little Rock group left for their first trip at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, and return the following night at around 10 p.m. Sunday. They are planning on going once every month this semester.