Give. Serve. Pray. News

Give, Serve and Pray: 5/3/11

Posted on 2011-05-03 by Renie Moss 205-726-2116

Samford Community,

This is a long one, folks, so bear with me....

There is so much work to do and so little ability for my finite mind to grasp the long-term plan for how people, families, business, communities will come out of this disaster.  Worshiping as a community this morning in Reid Chapel reminded me that  "My God is so great, so strong and so might there's nothing my God cannot do!"  The next time my five year old son sings that song, it will mean so much more to me.  I pray that those directly affected by these storms can find that same peace, understanding, and solace.  A link to the guided prayer from today's service can be viewed here:

The weather has made situations even more difficult today but out of the chaos, let me share some of the service that has flowed out of the Samford community over the past few days.  If you have stories to share, please do email me directly.

Over 200 members of our campus community went out on Saturday morning to serve in Pratt City and Pleasant Grove.  Many other volunteers served directly at the Christian Service Mission sorting and receiving donations all weekend long.  Today around 10:00 am the Christian Service Mission sent out an urgent facebook/twitter call that their supplies were virtually gone and that anything and everything was needed.  Yesterday evening the Cullman Food Bank ran out of food and the Christian Service Mission sent a truck immediately to relieve their efforts.   If you don't think sorting at a distribution center is service, understand how quickly donations are coming in and needing to be sorted in order to send out into the community ASAP.  This is a worthy and vital piece of the service outreach puzzle.

Additional groups from our campus have gone directly to the hard hit areas in Tuscaloosa, Cullman, and I believe the Ft.Payne area.  These include fraternities, sororities, University Ministries student organizations, groups of athletes, as well as students and faculty from our Moffett Nursing school.  Student Amanda Gargus stopped by today to tell me how a random group of students, including her, have now formed a service opportunity for this Saturday (see below) in and around the Holt community outside of Tuscaloosa, working alongside Camp Cosby YMCA employees doing the same service work. Not so random anymore! Additional faculty are gathering their classes in the Brock Business school to go out into the community later this week in organized groups, armed with supplies to remove debris, a huge need right now.  I have glimpsed pictures of our students on various facebook service group pages, working tirelessly to offer hope to those that need it most right now.  If you are willing to share your experience in word or picture, please do let me know at

You may have contributed to or seen the 24 foot Samford Gives Back truck that was parking at the West Gate exit.  In addition to the over $1600 collected in donations at the Avett Brothers concert,  two full truck loads of donated supplies went to the Christian Service Mission, all from the Samford community.  More is needed so please read below how you can continue to give, serve, and pray.

You may also have seen Red Cross volunteers being housed in Bashinsky over the last few days and they will also be staying in the South Colonnade of the Pete Hanna Center and the third floor of the Cooney Field House.  Samford will provide shelter for these 24/7 Red Cross volunteers until next Monday, May 9th when they are routed to additional service sites through the Red Cross efforts.  Thank you to the campus community to your patience and cooperation as we have opened our doors to these volunteers who have come from all over the country to assist our state.

GIVE:We will no longer staff or maintain a cargo truck for donations of supplies but ask you direct your ongoing donations to one of several sites below.  The vital needs for donations remain

•         Diapers of all sizes, adult and infant, and wet wipes
•         Bottled and Gallon Drinking Water
•         Tarps of all sizes
•         Sunscreen
•         Rubbermaid containers of all sizes
•         Coolers
•         Batteries
•         Personal care products (soap, wipes, deodorant, toothpaste, combs, brushes, etc)
•         Feminine care products
•         Cleaning supplies (convenience items like lysol wipes, presoaped sponges, shop towels, etc.)
•         First-aid items
•         Bug spray
•         Trash bags and ziploc storage bags of all sizes
•         New unopened medicines such as Children's Tylenol/Advil, adult versions, etc.
•         Work gloves
•         Packing tape, duct tape, etc.

You can bring your items directly to the Christian Service Mission located at 3600 3rd Avenue South or:

Bring your donations to First Baptist Church of Birmingham, located at the corner of Lakeshore and 31.  When you enter their parking lot, go to the "back" of the lot (opposite the side facing Lakeshore) and that is the entrance to the church.  Supplies are being collected there.

Shades Mountain Baptist Church is also collecting supplies in their foyer which is located at the corner of Columbiana Rd and Canyon Rd (turn left onto Columbiana from Lakeshore, go up the hill and you will see the church on your left)
Consider donating to either the employee emergency assistance fund or the student emergency assistance fund. 

Employee Assistance Fund Giving Form
(This is the “Other Designation” page; donors must specify that they want to donate to the Employee Assistance Fund.)

Student Emergency Assistance Fund Giving Form 


Mission Birmingham<> is also collecting supplies for distribution in disaster areas and is seeking volunteers to come help put together care packages.

Family Voices of Alabama has set up a special donation and assistance page to assist families with special health care needs children that may have been affected by the tornadoes.  You can learn more  at

Ashley Gassner in Brooks 122 is collecting items for  relief efforts.  They are putting together care packages for children.    Abi Williams in Brooks Hall 107 is collecting infant and child items for the relief efforts through and MOMS Market. 

SERVE: Samford Gives Back volunteer shirts remain available to you at the Hub in the University Center from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm 7 days a week.  We have ordered more shirts (size small and mediums that ran out so fast, even some XXLs for some of our big strong athletes!) so there should be no shortage.  Please do pick up a shirt if you've not already done so.  These shirts clearly identify you as a legitimate volunteer compared to unwelcomed sightseers or worse, looters.   Make sure your shirt  and your actions show that you are there to do good work.  Please also remember to wear closed toed shoes if you are going into the community for volunteer work.

Don’t question or ask what you will be doing.  Simply come with a servant heart, ready to do what needs to be done. 


Student Amanda Garbus has organized this opportunity:

YMCA Camp Cosby is gathering a group to go down to the communities surrounding Tuscaloosa on Saturday May 7. We will be meeting at 8am in the Rotunda Parking Lot to load supplies and equipment to take to these hard hit areas such as Holt, Alberta, Peterson, and Snoddy. While there we will also be helping tarp roofs, search through the rubble, and provide first aid THOSE WITH FIRST AID EXPERIENCE ARE GREATLY NEEDED.   Also we are in need of some necessary supplies: FIRST AID SUPPLIES, food that does not need to be heated, water, baby supplies (bottles, diapers, formula, and wipes), feminine products (especially pads), CANDLES, NAILS, and HAMMERS. We are also trying to collect supplies for the children in the Holt community such as candy, coloring books, and crayons. If you are interested in volunteering please wear long pants, closed toed shoes, and your Samford Gives Back shirt. BRING YOUR OWN GLOVES and if possible a hammer and a bag of nails. To learn more or if you want to drop off supplies contact Amanda Gargus at agargus@samford.eduLOVE THY NEIGHBOR!!!!  



Birmingham Baptist Association  Meal preparation desperately needed: Food Trailer is stationed at 4825 Avenue W Ensley Just behind Fire station #20 near the fairgrounds. There are four shifts available for volunteers, with the two greatest needs the 5:00am shift and the 6:00pm shift. This will take place at least through this week.  If you can form a team to assist with any one of these shifts, please contact Bill Morrison at

1st shift: 5am-10am, Preparation of 3000 meals

2nd shift: 10am-1:30pm, Preparation of 3000 meals

3rd shift: 1:30pm-5:00pm, Preparation of 3000 meals

4th shift: 6pm-10pm, Clean up and preparation for following day

Chainsaw crews needed: Assist in removing trees from property. If students don’t have access to a chainsaw, they can drag limbs to the curb. Saturday will be the biggest day for this work.  Wear appropriate work clothes and closed toes shoes.  Central Park Baptist Church; 1900 43rd   Street in Ensley at 9:00 am through Friday and 8:00 am on Saturday.

Samford Greek Community is being asked to partipate in Alabama Greeks for service in the Tuscaloosa area.  Melissa Carlisle and Director of Greek Life Dr. Denny Bubrig are coordinating this effort.  Students are not to skip class to participate!  However, if you are available, you can learn more about this initial work day this Thursday at the facebook event page: 


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT The Foundry<>:  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will be sorting/sizing clothing donations at Bessemer City Hall Auditorium located on the corner of 18th Street North and 3rd Avenue. We need volunteers to help sort and size from 8:30 AM until 8:30 PM. All you need to do is show up. Email if you can help

>From the Alabama Baptist Fellowship:

·  McDonald's Chapel outside of Birmingham is an isolated community without much help. We have heard that 35 homes were destroyed, additional damage done to most of the other houses and at least six dead. We have identified them as one area where we will be doing extensive long-term work to restore their housing.    

·  There is an IMMEDIATE need for debris removal, clean-up, supplies, and people to come and listen and talk with these victims. If you want to help right away, we need people to come (bring your own supplies - chain saws, gloves, bags, water, gas, etc) on Thursday, May 5 at 1 pm, and then all day Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 starting at 9 am.  Mart Gray of Covenant Church will be organizing these few days of activity (contact: or 334-806-8118). We do anticipate more work days in the future. You are encouraged to be updated on your tetanus shot.



 BB&T bank will sponsor a blood drive with the American Red Cross on Tuesday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shades Valley Branch, 2501 20th Place South, Birmingham, Ala., 35223
Critical need for psychiatrist and TRAINED shock, grief and depression counselors in Pratt City.  Please call Anne  Lucas at 205-746-6850 if you are qualified and can help.

United Way is looking for volunteers to man their 2-1-1 phone line,  Students can email their availability to<> to sign up for a 4 he shift (any times are appreciated).
Students will be trained to answer phones at the emergency hotline to direct calls as necessary
Hands On Birmingham has specific site needs available for volunteers.  If you've not already formed a volunteer team or signed up as an individual you can do so here:

Timely updates on additional service and resource needs are being posted on the Christian Service Mission facebook site.  Addresses where you can drive to and go into the community from a set location are also listed.  Literally the needs change by the minute so be sure to sign up for their updates.  CS Mission is reaching into Birmingham, Cullman, Tuscaloosa, and the smallest cities in between.  The best thing is to sign for their daily email newsletter which lists the service sites, instructions for volunteering, as well as the day's most pressing donation needs.  From there, simply show up, individually or as a group, or follow instructions given in the email to fulfill one of the needs they share.
Birmingham Baptist Disaster Relief<> is offering training for disaster relief deployment.
MPower Ministries has set up a medical clinic in Pratt City and needs medical volunteers as well as chaplains, pastors, and pastoral counselors.  Find out how to help at or contact Ryan Hankins at



Samaritan's Purse/Mission Birmingham  will continue to send daily teams every weekday from 7 am and 1 pm.
(This is the group that meets at Garywood Assembly of God at 2730 Allison-Bonnet Memorial Drive, Hueytown, 35023)

Medical volunteers can sign up at Alabama Department of Public Health


PRAY:Take a moment to reflect on those affected by these storms, including members of the Samford community by viewing today's guided prayer video at

Please remember that counseling is available should you need to talk to someone during this time.  Please call Counseling at x2065, located in temporary offices on the 3rd floor of the University Center, in the Career Development Center conference room area.

 Continue to check<> for information about how you can donate and serve through a variety of local agencies as well as assist students, faculty, and staff at Samford through donating to the emergency assistance fund.  I will continue to update you daily on additional ways you can give, serve, and pray as we join hearts and hands in support of the greater community around us.


The following websites are for state or local organizations that may be coordinating disaster response efforts:


Philip Poole
Executive Director of Marketing and Communication