When it comes to helping hurricane disaster victims in the wake of Harvey and Irma, it turns out Christians and other faith-based groups are providing more aid than even the federal government -- by a lot.
According to USA Today, faith-based charity groups have provided about 80 percent of the disaster relief aid in the aftermath of the recent storms, which devastated large swaths of Texas, Florida and the Golf and East coasts. Many of the groups are Christian, including the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the Global Baptist Response, and Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.
faith-based relief efforts aren't a fly-by-night operation, either. Many of these groups purposefully train volunteer crews to assist following natural disasters, regularly working alongside states to help manage relief and rebuilding efforts during major humanitarian crises. Just by itself, the Samaritan’s Purse has assisted with 20 disasters this year alone. Church groups and faith-based non-profits help with everything from short-term food distribution and shelter set-up to helping entire families rebuild their homes.
Baptist Global Response has about 95,000 trained volunteers ready to assist with disaster relief, making it the largest non-profit aid group behind the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. in fact, one recent report found that BGR provides a stunning 90 percent of all hot food donations distributed by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army during disaster relief.
"About 80% of all recovery happens because of non-profits, and the majority of them are faith-based," said Greg Forrester, CEO of the national VOAD, told USA Today, adding the money is "all raised by the individuals who go and serve, raised through corporate connections, raised through church connections," and amounts to billions of dollars’ worth of disaster recovery assistance.
The Daily Caller pointed out that this faith-based aid goes far beyond simply helping millions of Americans rebuild their lives – it also helps relieve the state’s burden of having to match and repay FEMA funds.
The services that faith-based relief groups have rendered to ravaged communities has not only helped the families and individuals affected by the storms, but has also translated into billions of dollars worth of aid for the states in general, which must match and pay back the economic aid given to them by FEMA. The volunteers, who come at no cost to state governments, count toward the states’ matching of FEMA funds.
And these groups aren’t just helping their fellow Americans. The Samaritan’s Purse has already set up relief efforts throughout the Caribbean to assist islands that have been all but wiped out by the storms.
The overwhelming response from Christian and other faith-based charities backs up a longstanding claim by many conservatives – that when it comes to helping the poor and afflicted, churches and non-profit charities can accomplish far more than a bloated and fiscally mismanaged government.
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