Pastors and members of Madison’s faith communities gathered at Lighthouse Church Monday evening to announce they are joining forces to help provide relief for victims of Hurricane Irma.
Boys and Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson led the effort two weeks ago to gather donations and deliver them to Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas, where volunteers from Madison are still helping families. When he thought about those same volunteers or others in his organization having to pick up and go down to Florida in the aftermath of Irma, he did one thing many leaders do: he asked for help.
“I’ve now been involved in almost every major hurricane to hit this country in the last ten years,” Johnson said. “Seeing how children and families are impacted by the storms is horrific. So I have an emotional, personal connection to these things. This time around I felt like because we just finished the one in Texas and we still have staff that’s in Texas, I don’t know if I have the juice to pull this off again so soon. So I called on Selfless Ambition and asked the pastors through Henry Sanders if they would step up and lead the effort.”
Selfless Ambition is a new nonprofit that brings different faith communities together to help address issues around the city of Madison and Dane County. Selfless Ambition is all about being good neighbors to one another. One of their tenets is that being a good neighbor has been largely ignored or forgotten.
In this case, neighbors in need are hundreds of miles away. Getting a team of faith communities together to help was no small task.
“I did it the old fashioned way and went door to door,” said Selfish Ambition CEO Henry Sanders. Sanders is also founder and CEO of Madison365. “Calling different pastors, telling them what we needed and what our mission is and how many people we needed. And it worked. When we saw there was a need in Florida, our faith tells us that we have to do something. So stepped up and decided we were going to use any resources that we can. Whether it’s money, volunteer time, any kind of gifts that we have. We want to make sure that we’re doing that.”
On Monday night the leaders of several local churches delivered Facebook Live videos and other social media messages imploring people around Madison and Dane County to donate things to help the relief effort.
It is important to note that only items specified as being needed should be donated. Toiletries, baby food, diapers and bottled water are the most important and needed things. Or just financial donations. Used clothing is not something that is needed, so volunteers are asked not to donate that.
People can drop off whatever they can out of the items listed there at Lighthouse Church on 6400 Schroeder Road on the west side of Madison.
Donations can be delivered between 8:30am and 5:30pm. One hundred percent of any financial donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County for Irma relief will go to the victims of this tragic storm.
“This is important because it shows the community that we’re working together and we are one,” says Lighthouse Church Senior Pastor Marcio Sierra. “We’re all serving one God here and we have similar beliefs and I think that’s what helps us work together. It shows the community that we have more similarities than differences. And that shows unity.”
Most of the leaders present Monday night had great empathy for fellow citizens hundreds of miles away because they were able to picture how they would like to be treated if Madison was ever hit with a huge natural disaster.
Any amount of the listed things such as hygiene products, miscellaneous toiletries, baby care items and water that people can give is enough.
“I think one thing we share in common is that we all care,” Sierra said. “If this happened in our community we would want people to help. If we only help one family that will be enough. Whoever needs the help is who we want to help. So as much as we can get is what we need. But if we help at least one family that will be enough and God will help the rest.”