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Hurricane Harvey Relief

Disaster Relief  Update | Friday, October 6, 2017 | Colin Hills – Disaster Relief Coordinator 

The morning of Friday, September 29, I and two parishioners met in the Transfiguration parking lot to depart for Corpus Christi. We hooked up the trailer, took care of a few last minute custodial tasks, and were on our way at 9:09 a.m. On the way there, I contacted the person coordinating our lodging, and the person coordinating our work sites. Our small team made the decision that they would head on to our bunks, while I took a detour to tour the work sites so that we could hit the ground running the next day. We were sleeping in a youth house in Corpus Christi, and working at a handful of sites in Refugio, about an hour North.
The next morning, we hit the road at 8 a.m., so that we could get a full day’s work in. We began our day at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Refugio, which had sustained roof damage and seen some downed trees. Our first task was to tarp the roof of a small chapel, held dear in the hearts of Ascension’s congregation. To accomplish that, two of us worked on the roof, while one stayed on the ground to serve as our eyes, pass us tools and materials, and generally help out on the ground. After finishing that, during a break, I noticed that Ascension’s sign had been broken off its mount, so I took a moment to reinstall it. The congregation of Ascension hadn’t missed a Sunday since returning to Refugio, so it seemed to make sense that they should have their sign visible.
After wrapping up at Ascension for the day, we went on to a parishoner’s house to remove the ceiling and insulation from their home office. We opened a window and threw the debris through it into a wheelbarrow, so that a team member could roll it to the street. We were working in a small space, so two of us worked, while a third spent the time sitting and talking with the homeowner. In my experience with service trips, I’ve notice the importance of that task. A simple conversation is what brings a work crew from relative anonymity to familiarity to the homeowner, and what moves the work from service to mission.
We spent 12 hours working on Saturday, and made it back to Corpus around 10 p.m. We grabbed a quick dinner, returned home, and hit the sack at around 11:30. The plan for the next day had not been developed yet, so we didn’t set any alarms. Sunday morning came, and I had some texts from the local coordinators. Our site for the day was at the Refugio County Airport. The airport’s manager lived onsite, and needed help clearing debris from her yard. More than anywhere else, this was where the storm’s impact was apparent. After finishing our work on the manager’s home, we saw a hangar that had a six seat prop plane hanging off of it by the tail. The plane had been chained down during the storm, but the chains broke and the plane was blown up there by the strong winds. After finishing up at the airport, we returned to Ascension to clear some downed trees. We broke out the chainsaws, cut the trees down to manageable pieces, and moved them to the street. We began our return trip to Dallas from Ascension.
That was our schedule for this weekend, but here’s what we did: we brought relief, calm, and love to a community that was sorely lacking it. We showed up, worked hard, and did our best, and that was enough. We didn’t fix all the damage, we didn’t do anything that complex, but we did something. Right now, the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is the only group that has made a long term commitment to helping the Diocese of West Texas. They’ve had volunteers from all over the country, but none of those groups have planned to return. Consequently, DWTX has trusted us with their highest priority, most urgent sites.
DWTX doesn’t need food, water, or bedding. They need a few tools here and there, but mostly, they need hands. They need compassionate people to show up and care. I plan to take groups of those people down there until the money or work runs out, whichever comes first. I’ll provide shelter, showers, and sustenance. All I ask for is a willingness to give of yourself to a community in need. Our next trips are October 20 – 22, November 10 – 12, and December 8-10. We leave at 9 a.m. on Friday, so I am asking you to take a day off of work. You can sign up here or by clicking the Hurriance Relief button above.

If you’d like to donate: In addition to Episcopal Relief  and Development and the American Red Cross, funds can be donated directly to Transfiguration to purchase heavily-requested supplies and hygiene kits that Colin Hills will take to the Gulf Coast on work trips. Checks may be written to the church with “Harvey Relief” in the memo line, or you may put cash in offering envelopes with “Harvey Relief” written on the outside.

North Dallas Shared Ministries Volunteers

Transfiguration has a long-standing partnership with North Dallas Shared Ministries that has focused on donations of clothing, food, and monetary resources. Now, they are badly in need of volunteers. Our group of regulars has shrunk to only three people. If you are seeking a deeply rewarding volunteer experience and can spare a half-day once or twice a month (or more!) please contact Dorothy Baker at dorothy.baker.1@att.net or 972-241-4554. They are especially in need of people with IT expertise.

Austin Street Center Wish List

Donate to Austin Street Center

Our community partner, Austin Street Center, is in need of the following items. A quick and easy way to give is through their Amazon Wishlist; when you purchase through it, you can have your gift sent directly to the shelter. Visit their Amazon Wishlist here to send items directly to the Center.

Brown Paper Bags for the Food Pantry

 

The Food Pantry is collecting brown paper bags for their food distribution ministry. You can drop them off at the Welcome Desk for the next several weeks. We prefer bags with handles. Thanks for your help!

FOOD PANTRY

Transfiguration’s food pantry was founded in 2015 and is a Community Distribution Partner (CDP) of Crossroads Community Services and serves food-insecure families in north Dallas. As a CDP, Transfiguration buys food at a cost of 12 cents per pound and gives it to the hungry at no cost. Member families receive a week’s worth of groceries each month. We currently serve 18 families on the third Monday of each month, and can accept applications for more. To learn more or get registered, contact Ellen Dingwall, Minister for Congregational Life and Outreach, at edingwall@transfiguration.net.

Despensa de alimentos de la transfiguración fue fundada en 2015 y es un socio de distribución comunitaria (CDP) de Crossroads Community Services (enlace a www.ccsdallas.org) y sirve a las familias con inseguridad alimentaria en el norte de Dallas. Como CDP, transfiguración compra alimentos a un costo de 12 centavos de dólar por libra y se lo da a los hambrientos, sin costo alguno. familias miembros reciben valor de una semana de comestibles cada mes. Actualmente atendemos a 16 familias en el tercer lunes de cada mes, y podemos aceptar aplicaciones por más. Para obtener más información o ser registrado, póngase en contacto con Ellen Dingwall, Ministro de Vida Congregacional y Alcance, en edingwall@transfiguration.net.

LOCAL PARTNERS

Austin Street Center – AustinStreet.org

Since 1983, Austin Street Center has provided a free, safe overnight shelter for 350 – 400 homeless men and women each day. The Center provides food, clothing, medicines, education and pastoral care for residents. Transfiguration parishioners prepare and serve an evening meal for all residents once each month and provide and serve a complete Thanksgiving Dinner for residents each Thanksgiving Eve. The Parish also supports requests from the Center for special needs, such as clothing, food and personal care items throughout the year.

Genesis Women’s Shelter – www.genesisshelter.org

Genesis Women’s Shelter exists to provide safety, shelter and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence and impact. Their hotline to help find a safe way out of an abusive situation is available 24/7 by calling 214-946-HELP (4357).

Gateway of Grace – www.GatewayofGrace.org

Gateway of Grace helps refugees start over in Dallas/Fort Worth Area. Many of the refugees are survivors of severe trauma. They offer opportunities to directly support refugee families as they are resettled in the metroplex.

The Gathering – www.edod.org

Founded with the mission of creating a spiritual home for the homeless, The Gathering is a church whose purpose and reality is a ministry to, with and for the homeless community that is always amongst us but seldom seen by us, The Gathering provides weekly lunches, personal hygiene items and financial assistance to its participants.

Habitat for Humanity – www.DallasAreaHabitat.org

A faith based international organization that builds houses with no interest mortgages for low-income families. Volunteers do most of the construction of the home. In 2012, Transfiguration and Parish Episcopal School teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to build a home in Plano for a single mother and her 5-year-old daughter. We are working to coordinate a few build days during Advent.

North Dallas Shared Ministries – www.ndsm.org

An inter-denominational food bank providing the needy temporary help with food, some cash, and ESL classes. Transfiguration collects food throughout the year and a number of parishioners volunteer monthly.

Spring Valley Elementary School

The school is part of Richardson Independent School District. It is in our church neighborhood but serves many disadvantaged students. Parishioners volunteer in a variety of ways at the school. Children from the church participate in collection projects for students and, occasionally, we fund special requests.

St. Philip’s School and Community Center – www.StPhilips1600.org

This entity, located in South Dallas at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, exists to enhance the lives of children and families regardless of economic background, but with an emphasis on low and moderate income families, through educational excellence, Christian principles, and compatible community services. Transfiguration provides financial support and volunteers for activities such as the annual Mother’s Day Store.

Voice of Hope – www.VoiceofHope.org

Provides year round quality out -of -school time programs for youth ages 4 – 18 in West Dallas, through ASPIRE after school programs, Bible Clubs, Summer Day Camp and their Out of Boundz youth ministries. Voice of Hope also has Family and Community outreach services that provide families with food, a listening ear, encouragement and various assistance.

Youth First Texas – www.YouthFirstTexas.com

The mission of this organization is “to provide a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their allied friends to strengthen opportunities for life skills, leadership development, peer support and educational advancement.” Funds from Maundy Thursday Soup Supper are donated to the group.

EPISCOPAL PARTNERS

Episcopal Peace Fellowship – www.EPFNational.org

The North Dallas Chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship meets at Transfiguration once a month. The EPF’s national mission is to pray, to study/educate and act on behalf of peace and justice. During this year the local EFP is focused on working together to end capital punishment in Texas. For more information, contact Ron Damholt (link to rdamholt@att.net), or look for an upcoming meeting here.

Episcopal Relief & Development – www.EpiscopalRelief.org

Episcopal Relief & Development works with Church partners and other local organizations to save lives and transform communities worldwide. They rebuild after disasters and empower people to create lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease. Working in close to 40 countries, their programs impact the lives of approximately 3 million people around the world. Transfiguration supports them through our Advent Gift Market, through disaster relief fundraising, and with other opportunities throughout the year.

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

Happy Homes Africa School

The school is Transfiguration’s international outreach program in the northeast region of South Africa. The school serves 112 pre-school children ages 3 to 6 most of whom have been orphaned by AIDS. It is supported by donations from parishioners, students and staff of PES and the Africa Foundation. A pilgrimage to South Africa in 2017 will include a visit to the Happy Homes School. Interested in learning more? Contact Fr. Casey Shobe at cshobe@transfiguration.net.