Local churches, organizations step up to help Selma relief efforts

Published 4:09 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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By Travis Gupton

The Selma Times-Journal

Local churches and other organizations are stepping up to assist recovery efforts after a devastating tornado hit Selma Thursday afternoon. Several organizations began handing out food and water for those who are still without power as of Friday. One such group is the Church of Christ Disaster Assistance. On Friday, the group made their way to Selma from Prattville with a van load of food and drinks to hand out to those in need.

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“For me, this is when we get to be the church,” Katie Griffies said. The church is not the four walls that are standing. The churches are the people that meet at that building, and so during any disaster relief, this is when we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This is my hometown and so it breaks my heart. But, we are grateful, that we can go and be a light to these people and help them, and encourage them, and strengthen them with the love of the Lord.”

Houston Park Church of Christ gave out food Friday morning and Friday night with the help of the Church of Christ Disaster Assistance. Despite not having any power in the building, church members banded together to be a blessing to those who needed help the most.

“Right now, we are so close to the tornado that we are trying to assess what the needs are, but first we wanted to take care of the need for food,” Houston Park Minister Van Sprague said. “So, we are offering food to people that need it, especially emergency personnel that are out all day working tirelessly, and of course, we have been praying as a congregation individually about what’s going on.”

Other churches in Selma have also heeded the call to help those in need.

Cornerstone Presbyterian Church cooked and handed out hamburgers and hotdogs to the community on Friday to help those who needed some relief.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of thought into it,” Julie Humber said. “I called Pastor Steve this morning and I said I’m going to Walmart and we are bringing our grill down to the church. Are you ok with that? He said ‘yes’, so we put it out to some members and they came to help and here we are. I mean just a spur of the moment.”

Elkdale Baptist Church is housing members of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Group while they work with relief efforts in Selma over the next week. Pastor Nicholas Gandy said as Christians he feels this is something the church is called to do.

“We believe that God wants us to bring his light, his life and his love to the world, through the message of Jesus Christ,” Gandy said. “That compels us to want to reach our neighbors with hope, the hope of the gospel. We believe that is best met through physical need in times of tragedy and difficulty and hardship. We want to put the gospel on feet and go meet real needs.”

Those who need assistance can go by Elkdale Baptist Church at 2221 Elkdale Street in Selma, or call 334-261-8616 for assistance.

The YMCA of Selma is also making an effort to help those who were affected by the tornado on Thursday. They are offering their shower facilities to anyone who needs to use them during office hours. They are open Saturday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., and Monday – Friday 5 a.m.-7 p.m.