Albany Nazarene helps send boxed supplies

Posted September 20, 2017 at 9:08 am

When parts of the nation are in need because of any situation, including the devastating hurricanes that swept through Texas and Florida earlier this month, it usually brings out the best in America and our total willingness to make our own sacrifices to help our fellow man.

When the storms and flooding ravaged Texas first with Hurricane Harvey, followed closely behind in Florida and the eastern states by Hurricane Irma, several lives were lost and thousands of people were totally left homeless.

But the nation did not wait for the federal government to start bringing aid. They immediately left their homes or sent money from all over the United States and even abroad to help those in need, and many, many people right here in the Albany and Clinton County area, as well as people across Kentucky were no exception.

Locally, Albany Nazarene Church, working in conjunction with the Kentucky District Pal Pack and Crisis Care program, assembled and sent over 3,000 “care kits” and Pal Packs (school supplies) to people in the hurricane affected areas, according to local District Coordinator Brenda Brown.

The drive to raise funds for the care kits, which contains all types of hygiene products that anyone would need to stay clean, began and efforts by church volunteers and generous donations from businesses and individuals in Clinton County funded enough to send over 3,000 boxed items to those in need.

Each kit also contained a small toy in case the kit was given to someone who had a child or children.

The Nazarene Church keeps such kits in stock at many churches and sends them to areas where disasters like this occurs, Brown said. “We keep so many here locally, about 168, and we sent all we had and raised money for at first, 408 kits, to Texas…then the hurricane came to Florida.”

So, an emergency call went up and people (of the church) took it upon themselves to ask for donations,” Brown added. “We raised about $2,500 and then “we went shopping” for the products to fill the kits. As of last week, there was enough supplies to fill 120 more kits, which was to be shipped to the Florida Keys area.

All churches in this district brought items here, and the Kentucky district sent 1,380 kits and 50 Pal Packs of school supplies. The Eastern Kentucky district sent 1,323 kits plus other supplies.

Barbara and Tom Emery of Highway Church of the Nazarene drove the loaded truck headed for Florida last Wednesday, September 13 and was rerouted to the Keys in the Ft. Lauderdale area, she said.

In all, counting the 408 kits sent to Texas and 2,712 to Florida, 3,120 care kits were delivered to hurricane victims and their families from Clinton County. There were 28 cases, or 168 kits from Highway, plus the donations from the Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky District’s.

Of the supplies that went to those in need, clothes and baby food was also included.

Brown estimated that at least 30 businesses locally contributed funds to help purchase care kit items and also added there was a lot of individual and personal donations. “Sometimes were would be in a store shopping and people would make a donation to help buy supplies,” she said.

People in the congregation helped put package the care kits together and a few church members did two full days of shopping, including Brown, her sister Glenda Duncan, Casie Parkhurst, and Linnie Marshall also helped shop. The supplies were stored in banana boxes then shipped to where they were most needed.

“I could not believe it (the response) from the community,” said Brown about the relief effort. “I was really thrilled, people gave without thinking.” She added most people didn’t even ask many questions about the program but simply were very open about trying to help.

Brown also mentioned that Hogback Church had made up some of its own kits and donated them to the effort and others had heard about the project and made up kits and called to ask them to be picked up.

Each kit costs about $14 (in hygiene products) in merchandise, plus the time it took to shop for the items assemble the kits, etc. “I loved doing it. Mission type work has always been my passion,” Brown said.

Brown said she wanted to thank the community for their backing, especially the businesses who made it possible for so many care kits and Pal Pack items to be delivered to those in need.