North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

June 5, 2013

Churches collecting for storm victims

MORGAN TURBERVILLE
North Jefferson News

NORTH JEFFERSON — Churches all throughout the northern part of Jefferson County have begun gathering supplies for an issue that hits close to home.

On May 20, a large EF-5 tornado ravaged parts of the state of Oklahoma, a natural disaster that is still fresh in the minds of many Alabama residents. As many reached out to Alabama in its time of need after the devastating tornado outbreak in April 2011, many local churches are gathering materials to send to those affected by Oklahoma’s storms.

Fultondale First United Methodist Church will be receiving items until Saturday, with volunteers on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays to receive items. Donations can also be taken to the church office during office hours.

The Rev. Ron Gonia of Fultondale First United Methodist emphasizes the importance of returning the favor that many others have shown this state.

“We felt like we had people from all over helping us two years ago in our time of need,” Gonia said. “We feel that we’re in a place where we can help.”

He gives the Bible’s parable of the good Samaritan and the Golden Rule, as examples of why his church is participating in this relief program.

“It’s just part of our mission,” Gonia said.

Other churches such as Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist will also be receiving items for relief kits. White barrels are set up around the church for donations to be dropped off. The complete list of what will be accepted can be found at umcor.org.

The Birmingham Baptist Association has also partnered with Union Baptist Association in Norman, Okla., to meet whatever needs they might have, which a representative for the association says at this point is “mainly financial” until they are able to assess what other contributions they need at this time.

With all the work that is still being done to bring in donations, many local churches have already gathered large quantities of supplies, and have made multiple trips to the storm-ravaged area.

Gardendale First Baptist Church gathered more than two truckloads of items for the tornado victims, including water, Gatorade, cleaning supplies, detergent, food and toiletry items, which have been sent to Oklahoma in two trips.

Many local churches are still involved in the ongoing disaster relief area for Oklahoma.

To make donations to the churches mentioned, Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist is located at 805 Crest Dr. in Gardendale, and Fultondale United Methodist is located at 1900 Stouts Rd. in Fultondale.

The Birmingham Baptist Association can be reached at (205) 599-3245.