Reporting Your Impact: Disaster Relief

Reporting Your Impact Through Unto and Strategic Partnership

Because of support from people like you, victims of Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, and Cyclone Idai experienced the kindness of Jesus through critical aid and the help of volunteers.

To assist with disaster relief efforts for people affected by the hurricanes in the U.S., Unto® partnered with Cru® campus ministry staff members along with more than 500 college students from 22 campuses, representing 20 countries around the world. As part of Unto’s Disaster Relief Initiative, these projects help the ministry advance the Great Commission by providing credibility, access, and increased effectiveness for partners in the affected areas.

Relief for People Affected by Hurricane Florence

Trapped on the second story of his home, Tom watched the first floor disappear under rising flood waters. He contacted a friend who alerted a neighbor that Tom needed to be rescued. The neighbor saved Tom from the flood waters using his small fishing boat. Tom crawled out of a second story window onto the roof and into his neighbor’s boat. As he rode off, he realized his home would never be the same.

Days later more than 30 Unto volunteers and local church members worked to relieve the suffering of disaster victims. When a truck filled with aid reached the community, members of The Bridge Church and Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church came together to help distribute it. Although they had not previously partnered together, members of both churches worked side by side to clean and gut damaged homes, including Tom’s.

The kindness of Jesus was demonstrated as Tom witnessed the team effort of two local churches that are now connected and can continue to work together to build relationships in their community. Softened by the unity and kindness he had been shown, Tom hugged our staff member and said, “Thank you for all you’ve done.”

Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas in September 2018 and caused extensive damage to homes like Tom’s. Generous supporters helped victims by making it possible for us to send supplies that equipped local churches and volunteers to respond to people in Leland, North Carolina, who experienced some of the greatest damage.

Rebuilding After Hurricane Michael

Kym and her daughter Pia lived in a beautiful, whimsical purple house surrounded by a colorful flower garden. Kym had built her daughter what every child dreams about — a place of her own where she could imagine, dream, and play. She called her garden and swing set “Mudpie,” and she spent a lot of time playing there with her dogs and cats. Hurricane Michael changed everything.

Although there were fallen trees all over their yard, it was Pia’s broken swing set that caused both Kym and Pia the most heartache.

The Unto disaster relief team and student volunteers used yard tools to piece her swing set back together. The small act of taking time to reassemble a wind-damaged swing set showed kindness to a mother who can now provide her daughter what she loves most — a place to be a child.

Frank, another Hurricane Michael victim, was overwhelmed by the destruction in his front yard. At one time a yellow beach house stood on his property. But now tree damage and debris distorted the image of coastal living. Frank felt hopeless.

The roof and lawn damage caused by six cedar trees that fell during Hurricane Michael would have taken him two weeks to clean up on his own. By the time the Unto disaster relief team got to Frank’s house, it had been five months since the storm hit. During that time Frank had been focused on repairing his parents’ home down the street.

Frank’s mother passed away last year, and his father is a resident at a nursing home. There was no one else to take responsibility for the damage his parents’ home had sustained. As a result, Frank did not have the time or resources to take care of his own home. Storm cleanup businesses gave Frank estimates of $10,000 to clear out the fallen trees. The Unto team completed the work in two days as a free service.

With tears in his eyes, Frank told one of our team members, “I didn’t earn any money these last two days, but they were very profitable.” He brought cookies to share with the college student volunteers and Unto staff members who helped him. It was clear that Frank was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.

Gifts from people like you helped supply volunteers with essential items to relieve the suffering of those affected by Hurricane Michael. Gifts were used to express the kindness of Jesus through disaster relief and created opportunities for local staff members to share the eternal hope of Jesus with those who had lost so much.

Clean Water for a Remote Village After Cyclone Idai

On March 15 Cyclone Idai rolled across Zimbabwe, leaving devastation in its wake. More than 1.6 million people in three countries were affected by the storm. Because of the partnership of people like you, Unto was able to respond quickly, delivering 500 water filters and 500 buckets plus training to more than 450 families in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.

A village chief, Mr. Masekete, told Unto team members, “From this village to the hospital is 48 kilometers. If someone gets ill here, we just wait for them to die. Or if God heals them, then we say God is powerful. If we have clean water, it will help. We have no wells, no boreholes, no faucets. People are drinking from the rivers. We are drinking water with the remains of the dead. This bucket will help; even the elderly can use it. It has no chemicals [for cleaning water]. [The filter] just cleans the water.” Another woman shared, “I am grateful I have been assisted. The bucket [and filter] will help me get clean water. Now we won’t suffer from stomach aches.”

Water gives life. It also opens doors to share the eternal hope of Jesus with people who have thirsty hearts. The buckets and water filters helped protect families from further loss and encouraged them as they start the rebuilding process. Together we relieved their suffering, restored their dignity, and revealed hope.

Published October 14, 2019