Photo above: Danny Palmer, a deacon at Trinity Baptist Church, walks across the destroyed church’s sanctuary Saturday, November 5, 2022, while looking for items to salvage after a tornado hit Idabel, Oklahoma (AP Photo/LM Otero)
November 17, 2022 | 8:41 a.m.
After the devastating tornado surge across parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas a few weeks ago, many communities suffered from widespread damage and flash flooding. Two people lost their lives. The next morning, many woke up to downed power lines and trees, and some homes were completely destroyed. Communities in Texas also woke up to deliveries from Convoy of Hope.
Convoy responded by distributing food, water, hygiene kits, and cleanup supplies to survivors. Pastor Matthew Kelley of Chicota Assembly of God in Arthur City, Texas, immediately jumped in to help. He not only used supplies provided by Convoy, he also referenced Convoy training from years prior.
Equipping Communities to Meet Needs
Matthew attended Convoy’s Rural Initiatives training in 2019, which taught him how to build relationships in the community. He learned how to connect with schools, fire departments, law enforcement officials, businesses, and others who could help amid the aftermath of disaster.
Post-tornado, Matthew’s training proved crucial when his community needed help.
With this being one of the biggest storms to hit their town, Matthew woke up the next day wondering, “Where do we go from here?” But he was also trained for this. He contacted the local fire department, letting them know his church was open for housing people and providing meals.
The community started identifying the church as a distribution point, and folks in and outside of Chicota Assembly called to ask what they could do, or if they could donate supplies. Matthew called it an “outpouring of support.” Volunteers handed out supplies and tarps to repair roofs. Even linemen from out of town received hygiene kits.
“(The Rural Initiative training) helped give us direction and a first step, because this is our first experience of a tornado,” Matthew said.
Convoy of Hope continues to monitor disasters nationally and worldwide, and Convoy teams will keep resourcing supplies and encouraging community leaders to meet long-term needs.
November 6, 2022 | 8:35 a.m.
A storm system that produced 19 tornadoes and severe weather tore across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas Friday night. Instead of widespread damage that affected one continuous stretch of land, this unpredictable storm “hopped” and caused intense damage in sporadic locations. Initial reports indicate that much of Idabel, Oklahoma, was destroyed. The Weather Channel is reporting that dozens of other homes are damaged in northeast Texas. Strong winds even overturned a semitruck in Oklahoma.
Convoy is responding with resources, including food, water, cleanup supplies, and hygiene items. Trucks will be departing for the affected areas today and tomorrow.