Operation Compassion at Ground Zero

By , November 28, 2001

Following the September 11 World Trade Center attack, the Care Ministries’ international director, John D. Nichols, and Operation Compassion’s David Lorency, director of Benevolence Field Ministries, were working out details and arranging transports to aid the disaster victims.

Under ordinary circumstances, Operation Compassion would have many congregations in a disaster area scrambling to aid victims, but because of the uniqueness of this tragedy and the tight security, FEMA had approved only certain organizations to distribute needed items at ground zero. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army were approved to distribute and serve hot meals while Feed the Children, under the direction of Larry Jones, and its affiliate organizations were approved to distribute other needed items. At the request of Larry Jones, Operation Compassion immediately partnered with Feed the Children to assist in hauling and distributing donated products for relief workers. Two Feed the Children semis were set up to distribute the needed supplies at ground zero, one block from the disaster area.

In its 11 warehouses nationwide, the Operation Compassion stocks between 70 and 100 semi loads of items for emergency disaster relief. After reviewing its inventories, Operation Compassion shipped seven semi loads of needed items requested by the ground rescue workers, including 2,000 blankets, 12 pallets of batteries, 12 pallets of athletic socks donated by Charleston Hosiery, and large quantities of towels, toothbrushes, snack foods, candy and bottled water. More than 100,000 pairs of socks were given out to relief workers to replace the burned socks on their feet, resulting from working on the hot, smoldering debris at the disaster site.

President Bush stated that the war we now face would not be a quick decisive one, but a long-drawn-out one, fighting an enemy we cannot see. So it will also be with the healing of emotions, especially for those directly affected by the tragedy and those who have been devastated by the domino effect of job and family security. Americans everywhere are seeking solace and a way to come to terms with what to them makes no sense at all. Many New Yorkers who went to work as usual on that fateful day lost their lives. Many others found themselves in turmoil in an open graveyard, surrounded by death, suddenly without jobs, seemingly hopeless, without a means to supply the needs of their families.

In an effort to do what they can, Operation Compassion and Feed the Children are partnering for the next year to continue their aid to these devastated New Yorkers. Their priority is to assist those who have suddenly been left with no means of support by supplying them with the things they need to survive: food, clothing, hope, encouragement, comfort and consolation. John D. Nichols, Larry Jones and David Lorency met in New York City to view the scene of the tragedy and plan their course of action.

As recovery workers continue their cleanup operations, life goes on. And Operation Compassion will be a part of that life, giving physical and spiritual assistance, hope and comfort to those in need—always at ground zero.

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