Observer staff report
Update Jan. 3, 2022:
Pastor Ivey Belch of the Ocracoke Life Saving Church announced on Dec. 28 that the church received a generous donation enabling it to reach its $7,000 goal of donations from the community to aid victims of the devastating tornadoes recently the Midwest.
Belch said the church received $7,050, which means $14,050 will be sent to help those affected by recent tornados in the Midwest leaving destruction and lost lives in their wake.
“We are excited and ecstatic that we can send these funds to help someone else in need as we have been helped in our community so much in need,” he said in a Facebook broadcast. “This is a blessing and I know it will be a blessing to many as we send these funds on. Any funds that continue to be received for tornado victims will be sent as well.”
Belch had announced Dec. 19 night that the church will contribute $7,000 to be given to two organizations that have helped Ocracoke and which have already responded to the tornado disasters.
Those organizations are the Christian Aid Ministry (CAM) and the Convoy of Hope, both of which helped or continue to help Ocracoke following the Sept. 6, 2019, flooding by Hurricane Dorian.
CAM volunteers returned to the island in November to resume building and rebuilding island homes following their initial posting to the island last year.
“We know what it’s like to be affected by a devastating storm,” Belch said in a Facebook address and asked individuals and businesses on Ocracoke to match or exceed the “seed” that the church has planted.
Belch is the chair of the Ocracoke Interfaith Relief & Recovery Team, which was organized in the aftermath of Dorian (Sept. 6, 2019) as the local entity to continue the work of distributing goods and rebuilding homes on Ocracoke.
“We’ve been given so much,” he said about the money, food and supplies that poured into Ocracoke two years ago. “Let’s give some back and let us give sacrificially, as others gave to us.”
He said the amount raised will go wherever CAM and Convoy of Hope deem is most needed in the six affected states: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
“Convoy of Hope brought the first three tractor trailer loads of food and supplies the day after Dorian,” Belch said. “They’ve been there since day one in these areas affected by the tornadoes here at Christmas. So many lives have been affected.”
Those interested in giving can go to any First National Bank and request to deposit to the Ocracoke Assembly of God general fund. Those donations will be transferred into the tornado relief fund.
Checks can be sent to: Life Saving Church, PO Box 68, Ocracoke, NC 27960, with Tornado Relief in the memo line.
Donations can also be made via credit card in the “Giving” link on the Life Saving Church’s website lifesaving.church.
Belch said the church will cover the credit card fees so that 100% of gifts will go to aiding the victims.
The campaign will go to the end of December and if goal hasn’t been met by then, it go to the end of January.
In related action, Pastor Logan Jackson of the Ocracoke United Methodist Church also announced that he has contacted multiple churches in states affected by the Dec. 11 tornado.
“We have not heard back from any of those communities we have reached out to partner with just yet,” he said, “but we will be collecting love offerings and donations until the end of the year or later to help an affected community.”
Jackson said he will relay that information, when he knows more and what community the donations will go to.
Donations can be made in person at OUMC services or through the church’s Facebook page @OcracokeUnitedMethodistChurch or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jackson asks donors to write “Tornado Relief” in the memo line.
The North Carolina United Methodist Church Disaster Response team set up an extended camp on Ocracoke right after Dorian and helped with disaster relief until departing in January. UMCOR also came to the island after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.