Disaster Relief Through the Eyes of a Child

By , October 8, 2004

On August 3rd as the first named storm of the 2004 hurricane season was born, no one knew what the next 6 weeks held in store. Florida, the Caribbean and the southern United States would suffer through 4 major hurricanes and 1 tropical storm. The devastation on human life and the destruction of property are stories that will be told through generations of survivors.
In the history of weather record keeping and forecasting 4 hurricanes have never struck the same state in a span of 5 weeks. Millions of households and businesses were without power, water and telephone service for much of the 5 weeks. In fact, there are several hundred thousand that are still without power.

To call Florida and the Caribbean a disaster area is understatement. The magnitude of the destruction and the frequency in which the storms hit combined to amplify the emotional, physical, financial and intellectual impact. Yet, the survivors are working hard to piece their lives back together.

From the outset, Operation Compassion set in place a strategy to help meet the needs for disaster relief supplies. By August 15th, Operation Compassion had product on the ground in Florida. During the next 6 weeks more than 200 trucks of disaster relief supplies would be delivered to the victims of the hurricanes.

Churches served as disaster relief centers as people would come to receive food, water and other necessary products. As part of the overall relief effort, volunteers would load their pick up trucks, small trailers and box trucks to deliver disaster relief supplies to those that had been isolated by the severity of the damage.

The staff of Operation Compassion knew survivors were being helped. However, no one knew how deep the impact being made was until a little girl delivered a thank you note to Dr. Gene Rice. Dr. Rice had gone to Florida to check on the blight of retired ministers in the aftermath of the storms when this little 10 year old girl approached with her letter.

The letter read:

Dear Church
Thank you for the ice and water and food and snack and shoe and cloth. I was in the back yard cleaning-up.

thank you, Chastity

Chastity, in a few words, proved the mission of Operation Compassion. After the disaster is over no one will come looking for an Operation Compassion semi truck and ask for salvation or say thank you. Like Chastity, people will come to a church, remember what that church did for them and say thank you or respond in some manner.

A ten year old little girl has seen enough destruction to last a lifetime. She will never forget that she survived 4 hurricanes in 5 weeks. Nor will she ever forget that church that gave her and her family the ice, water, food and clothing. Years after Operation Compassion’s disaster team has left Florida, Chastity will remember the church that helped her.

Please send your donations to or contact:

Operation Compassion
Dr. John D. Nichols, President
David Lorency, International Director
Tim Burdashaw, International Operations Coordinator

114 Stuart Road, NE Suite 370
Cleveland, TN 37312
423.728.3932 Office
423.728.3958 Fax

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