In the past weeks, we have been receiving your donations for relief efforts related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and we thank you for your support which will bring relief to so many. We will share the totals and distribution information in the upcoming weeks. (For information on our partner church, St. Thomas Reformed Church and their relief efforts, please scroll down on this page.)
But now, sadly, other unexpected disasters followed those very rapidly, including Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in Mexico. Hurricane Maria was the most destructive hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years, and the death toll from the earthquake in Mexico continues to rise and is now over 340. And this is as so many others in Texas, Florida and throughout the Caribbean are still suffering. But amid the heartbreaking photos and news stories, many are bringing hope and comfort, including much needed supplies to those in need. You can be a part of that hope and rebuilding.
To donate via our website please go here, (then log in, create an account or simply choose Quick Give) and make your choice from the drop down menu. Please note that there are two choices on that menu:
- DISASTER RELIEF (100% of your donations will go to both the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church in America relief efforts.)
- ST. THOMAS REFORMED CHURCH (100% of your donations will go to our partner church in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and their relief efforts on the island of St. Thomas in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.)
To donate by check, please make it payable to Marble Collegiate Church and in the memo section indicate which of the two selections you prefer (general Disaster Relief or St. Thomas Reformed Church), then mail to us, 1 West 29th St., New York, NY 10001, or drop in the offering plate during Worship.
As it becomes clearer how we can further help in the weeks, months and years ahead, we will let you know.
We encourage you to pray for the needs of everyone impacted and thank you for your support.
Information on St. Thomas Reformed Church
Although Hurricane Irma did extensive damage on the island of St. Thomas, home of our partner church, the St. Thomas Reformed Church, and while the church building had little damage, the pastor, Rev. Jeff Neevel and others are now working to help care for the community. Please visit their Facebook page for the latest updates on their efforts and read a message from the church below.
St Thomas Reformed Church
Hurricane Relief Update – September 25, 2017
After 20 years of very little hurricane activity, 2017 has brought the Virgin Island not one, but two Category 5 hurricanes in a 2 week span. Category 5 hurricanes are the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale which measures strength and Hurricane Irma was branded the most powerful storm to ever come out of the Atlantic. In their wake, these storms have left a path of devastation on St. Thomas as well as many other Caribbean islands.
St Thomas Reformed Church has been coordinating on the ground relief efforts. Our church undercroft that had just been renovated flooded not once, but twice. Yet miraculously, all roofs remained intact and our sanctuary, offices and new retreat center remained usable and dry (relatively!). Our sanctuary is being used as a staging ground, storage area and distribution site for essential supplies that are extremely scarce on the island right now. We have partnered with the Salvation Army and My Brother's Workshop in a free feeding program. Originally, the goal of MBW was to serve at least 500 meals a day. One day last week, MBW staff and volunteers served 957! (You can check out more info about MBW by visiting their website at www.mybrothersworkshop.org or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MyBrothersWorkshop
On the Sunday immediately following Hurricane Irma, our church gathered to worship - no power, no sound system, no printed bulletin, but many many grateful hearts and hands ready to serve. Still with limited gas, impassable roads, horrible traffic, limited cell service and an island wide curfew it took days to locate and check on all of the church's families. Miraculously the church has regained power but for most of the island's residents it will be 9-12 months before they have electricity and running water. Supermarkets can only be open during certain hours resulting in outrageous lines. Coupled with the tremendous blow to our tourism-based economy, many on the island literally cannot access supplies and resources needed to survive including water, food, infant needs and basic hygiene items.
The outpouring of volunteer support has been tremendous. Congregants who have lost their homes are the very same who are coming to sort and distribute supplies. On island, there is only one nursing home and it was badly damaged yet residents remained. Some of our wonderful congregants have also been bringing supplies to the nursing home. But the need for tangible supplies is very great and even as recently as this weekend that supply chain ran out. In the coming months of recovery, we want to continue being able to provide supplies for a least 200 families a day. Also, MBW is organizing work teams to help put up tarps as so many in the community lost their roof but have no option but to remain in their home. With the assistance of volunteer teams, we hope to be able to assist MBW with this type of labor in the near future. For others, we are assisting in trying to get people off island, including those with medical conditions or who have lost everything.
Pastor Jeff had the privilege of leading a worship service at the island's only hospital which was badly damaged and had to evacuate most of its patients stateside via US Navy assistance. The hospital staff doctors and nurses are holding on by a thin wire and trying to attend to the patients through the emergency room in a badly damaged facility. Many are working 24 hour shifts. These are just a few of the things people are doing to help and to care and to love our neighbors. We are very proud and happy to be part of a church with so many resources and such a desire to care for their community. The well is deep when we draw from Christ's living water!
Almost three weeks after Hurricane Irma ravaged the USVI, our islands remain in desperate need of hope and relief. STRC has answered the call and will continue the good work that has been started until the island is fully recovered-likely a multi-year process.
Thank you to everyone who has assisted us this far. Your unceasing prayers have provided strength where sometimes there feels there is no strength left. We have peace that surpasses all circumstances because we serve a God who gives us that and so much more freely. The need is great, the struggles are many, and the community is tired. Yet the sun is slowly creeping out and we are full of hope. We serve a God of resurrection, mercy, hope and LOVE! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4