Church deploys 100 volunteers to help with tornado cleanup in Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Volunteers organized by a large church in Georgetown are now working in shifts to travel through a neighborhood hit by Monday’s tornadoes and help people whose homes were damaged during the destructive storm.

Less than an hour after the tornado touched down on Monday, Celebration Church in Georgetown already had a crew working with people living in an area behind the Kalahari Resort in Round Rock. Pastor Christian Williamson said volunteers first helped a single motherboard repair 10 broken windows.

“We had volunteers here when the next storm came through a ladder at 10:30 at night to get her home, and it was amazing,” Williamson said.

In the past 24 hours, he said more than 100 church volunteers have signed up to come to the neighborhood, mostly piling up debris on people’s sidewalks and beginning to haul some of it in eight dumpsters. different garbage. He said people were even taking time off work to help clean up.

“We believe the local church is the hope of the world,” Williamson said. “We believe that when the local church is mobilized, we can have a big impact. It is an honor to be part of this team. »

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell previously said two tornadoes that struck Monday night damaged or destroyed at least 1,000 homes in communities like Round Rock and Granger. He also estimated that the storm caused around $2 million in damage in the La Frontera area.

Pastor Williamson said he visited some of the areas hardest hit by tornadoes on Tuesday, but he said it was still not safe enough for the church to send teams there.

“We’re hoping that by the weekend we’ll start mobilizing teams inside and out,” Williamson said, “but one of the things we’re hoping to do is just help clean up debris; provide hot meals for workers, contractors and owners; and just be a beacon of hope in this community and help in any way you can.

Volunteers dispatched by Celebration Church wear red shirts with the words “Serve Team” on them. Williamson explained that the church created these disaster relief teams before Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. During this response, the church converted one of its auditoriums into a distribution warehouse for stationery. Volunteers even helped people after the deadly winter storms of February 2021.

In addition to dealing with the tornado outbreak this week, Williamson explained that teams from the church’s campus in Italy are currently assisting with relief efforts in Poland.

“Our team in Italy, we’ve purchased supplies, and we’re shipping food and water and providing humanitarian aid,” Williamson said. “They are in Poland and we have made a few trips. Of course, we know this will be a long-term need, so we plan to do a lot more.

To respond to all of these disasters, Williamson credits a “very generous church” and people donating to a disaster relief fund.

“We are able to immediately release resources to the hardest hit areas,” Williamson said, “and we are able to immediately put boots on the ground, supplies and equipment that they need to help the families”.

The pastor asks anyone interested in potentially helping with the cleanup to keep a close eye on the Celebration Church Social Media Accounts for volunteer opportunities.

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