Last night after the Bookstudy, I asked out loud if there was going to be anything set up at the Hall where we can contribute to help those in the disaster. Everyone looked real uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject. I never did get a response. Apparently the "happiest people on earth" are also the stingiest too.
1/04/05: JW Ignore Tsunami And Praise Themselves for US Hurrican Cleanup
``All such national or international relief efforts are supported by the voluntary donations
of Jehovah?s Witnesses worldwide.'' ....... Yeah, like the recipients of such aid signing over their homeowner's insurance settlement checks to the WTBTS.
I had heard that the witnesses that had their homes repaired by the society had to pay for the repairs if they received any insurance money. Unfortunately I cannont confirm this 100%, but heard it second hand from someone in Florida after the disaster.
Has anyone else heard of this?
Sept. 22, 2001, 11:08PM
Flood of Compassion:
Jehovah's Witnesses organize to repair 700 damaged homes
By RICHARD VARA
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Religion Editor
The Redding family of Patterson, La. -- Tom, Donna and their 18-year-old son, Tommy, -- will be on the road to Houston every third weekend for the rest of the year.
They will drive about 500 miles round trip each of those weekends, after a full week of work, to help fellow Jehovah's Witnesses whose homes were devastated by Tropical Storm Allison
"This is something we felt we needed to do," Donna Redding said. "We knew they were in dire straits, so we come to help them out."
On a recent sun-splashed Saturday that begged for being outdoors, Tom and Tommy cut and hung new drywall while Donna smoothed ragged edges.
The Reddings are among hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses from Texas and Louisiana volunteering their weekends to repair 700 homes of Houston-area flood victims. While most of the victims are fellow Witnesses, the repair effort has spread to include some families and neighbors of church members hit by Houston's most costly natural disaster. An estimated 50,000 houses were inundated when floodwaters hit in early June.
The volunteer effort is exactly what Raphael Williams expected from his fellow Witnesses after 2 1/2 feet of water filled his two-story northeast Houston home June 9.
"Jehovah himself is behind this organization and helping us with this work," he said. Volunteers have already replaced a toilet, doors, wiring, walls and carpeting in his home, which Williams and his wife and teen-age daughter expect to return to by the end of September.
"I feel fortunate that my brothers are helping out and they are doing it in such a way that there will be no problems later on," Williams said.
The floodwaters had not receded when Witnesses sprang into action, area spokesman Genaro Peter said. The governing body of Witnesses based in Brooklyn, N.Y., ordered an immediate assessment of the damage.
"We have never seen anything like this here," said Richard Rokovich, one of an eight-member committee directing 10,000 local volunteers.
"Our scriptural obligation is immediately to our members," Peter said. "We called all the presiding overseers of the congregations, and they called all their members to see who was damaged.
"By Monday morning (after the Saturday flood) we had put together a report on all the Witnesses affected by the flood, addresses, phone numbers, extent of damages to the home, whether they had lost cars, where they were if they were not at home."
The national governing body then ordered a relief effort. The local committee launched a multifront program including developing a database, locating warehouse and administrative facilities, purchasing materials and organizing volunteers.
Within days, teams were trained by professionals on how to tear out carpeting and walls, and how to clean and disinfect homes, Peter said. They did not want any untrained volunteers to aggravate damage and cause costly repairs, he said.
Coordinating the relief program is no small task, Peter said. The Houston relief committee oversees 22 departments that track volunteers, construction materials, housing for out-of-towners and different stages of home construction.
Williams, 51, said volunteers from Cleveland arrived within a week to help him tear out the flood damage. His home and others were then inspected for the extent of damage and measured for the amount of replacement materials, down to the number of nails and gallons of paint needed, Peter said.
In a warehouse in northwest Houston, materials are organized house by house. Carpet is even pre-cut at the warehouse so volunteers need only lay it. Such minute care assures that materials and funds are not wasted, Peter said.
Flood victims choose from a limited number of carpet colors and cabinets, Peter said. Or, if they purchase their own materials, volunteers will install the choices.
The allocated materials are delivered to the homes by volunteer truckers. The appropriate workers, whether general laborers or craftsmen, are assigned to a home. Once their tasks are completed, the workers are assigned to other homes.
All the work is tracked by computer. Ideally, the homes are placed on a three-weekend repair cycle, although some homes need less work and others require more, Peter said.
No time is wasted. Volunteers are provided two hot meals per day, said Franciso Peter, a chef who is Genaro Peter's brother.
Each Saturday and Sunday, 11 chefs and a food preparation crew arrive at the Witnesses' Spring Branch Kingdom Hall at 5:30 a.m. to begin cooking. They are joined by about 200 volunteers, who make short work of packing 1,400 dinners per meal.
Vickie Butler of the Acres Homes Kingdom Hall has been volunteering weekends for several weeks. She will stick with it "for the duration."
"You don't get exhausted out here, because it is all done in love," Butler said.
The dinners are immediately taken by volunteers to area work centers, where construction-crew volunteers pick them up and return to work sites.
The cost of the program has not been calculated, but repairs are averaging between $5,000 and $10,000 per home, Peter said. If each of the homes costs only $5,000 to repair, the total would be $3.5 million.
Volunteer labor saves enormous costs, he said. In addition, the committee received substantial donations of materials and purchased items in bulk for more savings. Its warehouse space is donated.
Even with the all-out effort, relief committee member Jim Deloanes is not sure the goal of 700 homes repaired can be completed by the end of the year.
"That is an aggressive schedule for repairing 600 or 700 homes," Deloanes said. "The real challenge is to keep the thousands of volunteers motivated. Even though all of us respond to an emergency situation, it is hard to keep your level of compassion up week after week, month after month."
Still, the volunteers continue to work, Peter said. Even after last week's terrorist attacks, volunteers, although somber, showed up for relief work.
"They are so encouraged by what they are doing that if this went on for a year, they would probably do it."
oooooooooook now i'm confused, are they still repairing the same 700 houses that they were repairing in 2001???
I live in West Palm Beach. There is a brother who lives a couple doors down from me and damned if 24 hours after the FIRST hurricane hit us...Frances...he was driving his pickup around with a brand new magnetic sign on the side that said "Jehovahs Witnesses Hurricane Relief". What the F IS that anyway??? He sure as hell didnt stop at MY house to see if we needed any help and we are only a couple doors DOWN. I told my JW husband about that sign which infuriated me! I said...what the HELL??? The REST of us dont have to f-cking ADVERTISE what RELIGION we are to HELP PEOPLE in their time of need! That brother ought to go REREAD the bible verse that says NOT to go blowing your trumpets in front of you when you do something for someone!!" The kingdom hall is literally on the next STREET over from me here and not ONE JW came by to ask if they could help clear the TREES that had fallen over all over my half acre of property...not ONE. He took the sign off only a WEEK after Frances and then was happy to be able to put it back ON a week and a half later when Jeanne hit us. Once again...never saw him stop for us or any of my nonJW neighbors. WE all took care of EACH OTHER f-ckyouverymuch.
But they sure as hell showed up on my f-cking doorstep ON CHRISTMAS DAY and again on NEW YEARS DAY with the CIRCUIT OVERSEER no f-cking less! Useless arsholes. uuuugh puke hurl
There is a brother who lives a couple doors down from me and damned if 24 hours after the FIRST hurricane hit us...Frances...he was driving his pickup around with a brand new magnetic sign on the side that said "Jehovahs Witnesses Hurricane Relief".
i don't know why, but that cracks me up! (how obvious - and tacky! )
My only thoughts are: a big build up for no news at all. What exactly were they announcing??
...On the other hand, I will give credit where credit is due. If JWs took care of at least their own for the Florida hurricane, then good on them. That was aid. Aid that other funds did not have to pay for. And if they did nothing at all for their own, then there would be almost no hope of any of them ever knowing what love is. (And 1700 homes is a lot of work for the local congregations to be taking care of; no wonder it is taking so many weekends.)
But why is THIS the news today?
(BTW, could it be that the housebuilding workload is part of the reason for any dropping attendance? People can burnout, you know.)
Edited to add: I really don't think there are that many JWs over in Indonesia and Thailand. There aren't that many JW homes to rebuild. So, since they may have already finished sending aid to the few who are there, they still have a ton of space to fill for the press release. And so they bring up Florida...
They are going to have company in Florida. The Mennonites have been in Southern California working on homes that were destroyed in the Cedar Fire in October of 2003. They are going to Florida to help people rebuild. They did not pick and chose from their own and they work hard.