Picking up the pieces after the storms…

Ringgold_damage

The picture above was taken in Ringgold after tornadoes ripped through homes and businesses this week.  Thousands of homes and businesses are still without power and debris will be collected for weeks as people start to rebuild their homes and lives.  For the most part, everyone from Journey seems to be doing pretty well.  Thankfully, no one was injured or worse.  While several had trees and debris in their yards, none seem to have sustained serious damage (if you know of anyone that did, please let us know).  Disaster relief teams have been flooding into the area and the clean up has begun.  The most affected areas near people from Journey is Ringgold; near the Mike and Diann Jarvis and Chris and Samantha Caldwell, in Hixson; in Charlie and Jessica Gann’s neighborhood, and Ely Road, near Jean Neyman and Kely Woods.  Ringgold is so devastated that there really isn’t much we can do right now.  They need trained volunteers and heavy equipment.  The Gann’s, Jean, and Kely have several trees down around them and their neighbors are primarily senior citizens.  As the church, I think it is important to get involved in “helpful” ways to help our community.  Here is what we are proposing….

1.  If you would like to volunteer in the most affected areas, get in touch with either the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.  They are coordinating volunteer activities and offering some disaster relief training.  If you would like to make a donation, they are good organizations to donate though.
2.  Come out with rakes, chainsaws, and gloves to help the Gann’s and Jean and Kely’s neighborhoods tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  We’ll meet at Journey at 9:00 and head to the area that needs the most help. 
3.  Blood Assurance is desperately low on blood, especially O-.  Go to a blood assurance collection point and donate, no matter what type blood you have! They need all types.
4.  COOKOUT THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON after worship.  While we hope EPB will have power up for most of Chattanooga by Sunday, that may or may not be the case.  We are going to have a cookout to provide some much needed community with each other and have a hot meal for our neighbors.  IMPORTANT:  If you have power, please plan to bring a side dish, drinks, desserts, etc.  We’ll provide everything else.  It would make it much easier if you would reply to this email and let me know what you are bringing.  Most likely, those without power won’t get this email, so please make phone calls and let everyone you have a phone number for know about the cookout.  For those that don’t have power, just bring yourselves and let’s invite our neighbors and friends that still don’t have power, either.  We will still have our regularly scheduled worship experience and will eat immediately after.  It is a great time to be with friends and help each other deal with the trauma that we’ve witnessed this week.  Everyone is welcome and we are right next to Walmart, so if we need more food…it’s easy to get!

We expect the cleanup to take months.  We’ll be looking for other ways to help along the way.  If you know of any, let us know ASAP.  Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.

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