Celebrities & Churches Galvanize Efforts To Raise Funds for Victims of Hurricane Harvey
From Kevin Hart challenging fellow celebrities to donate $25k to victims of Hurricane Harvey and Houston’s relief efforts in a heart -wrenching video to singer Carl Thomas who helped to rescue victims from the rising waters in Houston, the Internet is awash in those responding in kind to the images from Houston.
The challenge from Hart—who initially pledged $25K but raised it to $50K— drew positive responses from T.I., DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, all of whom pledged the $25k. Chris Paul, who was recently traded to the Houston Rockets, donated $75K and Chris Brown announced that he would donate $100k, stating “I accept the challenge and I implore and encourage anyone else to make a change for this, please donate.”
Lady Gaga said she was sending love and money as the Kardashian family put their monies together to contribute $500,000. Beyonce, a native of Houston, released a statement on the devastation, pledging that she would help as many as she could.
“My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help,” read the statement issued to the Houston Chronicle. “I am working closely with my team at Beygood as well as my pastor (Rudy Rasmus at St. John’s in downtown Houston) to implement a plan to help as many as we can.”
Houston churches have also been responsive, even if somewhat limited. Houston’s Church Without Walls (pastored by Ralph West) was attempting to open its doors as a shelter, but officials were unable to get the resources to support the effort. One of their four campuses had taken on water and another was surrounded by impassable roads. Church officials said that they would assist as soon as they were able.
After some controversy, Joel Osteen opened up his Lakewood Church to receive “anyone who needs shelter”, while urging Houstonians to “stay strong and know that God has you in the palm of its hand.”
In a statement released by Co-Pastor Bridget Hilliard of Houston’s New Light Church, she reported that she and her husband Bishop I.V. Hilliard had never seen such devastation. “We are diligently working, planning and mobilizing on how we will help our church and community rebuild. Our desire is to see our city totally recovered and restored. My confidence is that because we have been there for so many in their time of crisis, God will raise up others to help us according to Ephesians 6:8.”
In fact, churches around the country are rallying to aid those in southeast Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Here in Los Angeles, Holman United Methodist Church, City of Refuge, West Angeles Church of God In Christ, Faithful Central Bible Church and numerous other L.A. area churches are urging their members to contribute as they contemplate how they will assist in relief efforts.
“Were assessing the matter and organizing a task force to respond to the catastrophe and tragedy in Southeast Texas and Houston,” said Pastor Edgar Boyd of First A.M.E. Church. “We’ll also be engaging members of the congregation to make contributions and we will be sending resources —financial as well as material — to churches we have operating in distribution points in Corpus Christi and Houston.
“It is my belief that the church is the first responder to tragedies in life and Hurricane Harvey is but one example,” said Inglewood-based pastor, Dr. Beverly “Bam” Crawford. “Even as this tragedy is still unfolding, we’re in the early stages of coordinating an effort to assist in whatever way we can—either through fellow Houston churches or relief organizations and will ask our parishioners to help as well. Our belief is that they’ll know we’re Christians because of our love.”