After this year’s hurricane season devastated Southwest Florida, NCF givers responded, sending $4.7 million in grants to charities. Meanwhile, NCF’s Florida teams came together and activated their Disaster Relief and Crisis Fund. Through that fund alone, NCF givers have sent more than $765,000 with a dedicated focus.
Many people don’t realize that pastors very often become the first responders to their community’s needs in times of crisis, and the weight of that role can be overwhelming. According to Pastor Serve – which provides coaching, crisis support, and consulting to pastors after disasters – pastors who are directly affected by a natural disaster generally leave the disaster-affected area within three years of the event.
Knowing many organizations would be serving the communities in the immediate wake of the storm, but few would be supporting the pastoral leaders in the areas of impact long-term, the Florida offices made a long-term plan to come alongside pastors as they serve their neighbors in Southwest Florida. Initially, gift cards were purchased to address immediate needs of pastors and their families, as well as those with significant needs in their congregations.
The Florida offices are also partnering with Samaritan’s Purse’s efforts, EchoCuba, a ministry that provides humanitarian aid to Cuba through the local church (which also experienced devastation by Hurricane Ian), and Church United – an alliance of congregations in South Florida – to accomplish this initiative.
As part of its long-term plan, NCF’s Florida teams intend to continue serving and supporting alongside pastors in their communities for the next several years with the main goal of increasing the likelihood of the longevity of the Church in Southwest Florida. None of this could be possible without the givers who have generously provided help that allows these communities to hang on to hope while they rebuild and recreate the places they call home.
Photos: Nick Schultz, NCF South Florida