MAYFIELD – International evangelical crisis response Samaritan’s Purse plans to build a housing estate in Mayfield to replace a number of homes that were destroyed by last December’s tornado.
According to its website, Samaritan’s Purse is a “non-denominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical relief to suffering people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet the needs of people affected by war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine in an effort to share God’s love through His Son, Jesus- Christ. Franklin Graham is the President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and is the son of late evangelist Billy Graham.
Jeff Graham, who is not related to Billy or Franklin Graham, is the organization’s North American Ministries Program Manager. He said the reconstruction program enters communities following major disasters such as strong straight-line winds, tornadoes, hurricanes and flash floods after Samaritan’s Purse has already responded with its disaster relief team. of disaster.
“At times (in situations like Mayfield) you realize there’s a bigger need than just a cleanup, and that’s when discussions will start to take place about whether it would be a place where we could do sort of a rebuilding program,” Graham said. “It depends on the needs and the number of people affected. It is also based on donor response (and whether or not there are) funds available. Of course as an organization we seek to follow God and we certainly pray and seek to be wise and to discern where and how we should help.
Graham said within the first 24 hours of the Dec. 10 tornado — which traveled more than 200 miles — the organization deployed disaster relief teams to Mayfield, Bowling Green and Dawson Springs. Less than three weeks later, the management of Samaritan’s Purse had decided that there would be a reconstruction project at Mayfield. Currently, Graham said staff members were working on site from the Mayfield Assembly of God Church, which served as the base of operations for the volunteers.
Graham said residents who have lost their homes can apply to participate in the rebuilding program, and the organization hopes to help up to 200 homeowners with repair and/or new construction projects. Samaritan’s Purse also offers a furniture replacement program and hopes to help up to 400 homeowners or renters who have lost most of their belongings. Graham said the reconstruction project is expected to take place across from the Mayfield YMCA.
“We are in the process of finalizing the purchase of this property and we will be able to have 50 half-acre building plots,” Graham said. “The property is adjacent to the town; it’s not within the city limits, but it’s right next to town, so it’s very, very convenient for people who have been hit in town and lost their homes.”
Graham said that while some previous owners will likely move into the subdivision, Samaritan’s Purse is primarily looking to help residents who were tenants, as many of them are currently displaced and live in motels, small houses or with community members. their family because they have nowhere else. to go. He said families who have lost their homes will not only get new two- or three-bedroom homes – and some with four bedrooms – but they will get extra protection in case of future bad weather. All houses will have a built-in safe
“It’s an interior room; it’s a bathroom that’s a complete concrete structure that the house is built around,” Graham said. “It will withstand an EF-5 tornado. We think that’s really important. We don’t build one everywhere, but whenever there’s a big wind event like this, we include it in our homes. We have been doing this for many years, mainly in the South.
Graham said Samaritan’s Purse is also ready to provide up to 100 underground fiberglass storm shelters in homeowners’ backyards within 20 to 30 feet of homes.
Graham said there is no set timeline and will largely depend on the applications they receive. He said groups or individuals can support the community in several ways. He encouraged people to pray for affected families, and anyone interested in volunteering can go to samaritanspurse.org and click on the tab at the top that says “Participate”. He said they would start receiving the first group of volunteers on May 8.
Anyone wishing to make a financial contribution can do so on the website and designate money for “Western Kentucky Rebuilding”. This will help pay for reconstruction staff and volunteers working primarily in Graves, Fulton and Marshall counties and nearby neighboring counties who may also need assistance.