Deploying to Alabama Tornadoes – Press Release

Operation Blessing Deploys U.S. Disaster Relief Team To Lee County, Alabama, For Tornado Relief Efforts

-Volunteers Needed Beginning Friday at 1pm-
-Residents Whose Homes Were Damaged Can Request Free Volunteer Help-

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (March 7, 2019) – The global humanitarian organization, Operation Blessing International, has deployed a team of disaster relief experts and a convoy of equipment to Lee County, Alabama, to assist with relief efforts following a string of deadly tornadoes.

Team leaders from Operation Blessing’s Virginia Beach headquarters arrived in Alabama on Tuesday to assess damages and meet with local emergency management officials in order to determine the areas of greatest need.

The convoy of equipment departed from Virginia Beach early this morning and includes a construction trailer loaded with tools and emergency supplies, a box truck full of relief supplies, and a skid steer for heavy debris removal.

Today, Operation Blessing will set up a base of operations at Golden Acres Baptist Church (3405 South Railroad Street, Phenix City) and will begin coordinating day volunteers beginning tomorrow (Friday) at 1pm.

Operation Blessing will be accepting disaster relief volunteers daily, except for Sundays. Volunteers should meet at the Operation Blessing base of operations at Golden Acres Baptist Church (3405 South Railroad Street, Phenix City). Please arrive by 8:15am (except for Friday, March 8). Day volunteers do not need to register in advance. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, dress appropriately for work in the field (long pants and hard soled shoes or work boots) and also provide their own transportation to and from the work site. For any questions about volunteering, please call OB’s national volunteer coordinator: 800-677-7974.

Residents are invited come in person to fill out a work request for FREE volunteer help at Golden Acres Baptist Church (3405 South Railroad Street, Phenix City) daily (except for Sundays) from 9:30AM – 4:30PM. All residents must fill out a work order form and sign a release form in person, allowing volunteer teams access to your property. Volunteers will not be able to do work without a form SIGNED BY THE HOMEOWNER. Priority is given based on need (elderly, sick, disabled, etc) and is based on volunteer availability. Volunteer services offered include general debris removal, help finding and sorting salvageable belongings, chainsaw work and installing tarps on damaged roofs. For more information on how to apply for help: 757.284-9183

For more information on Operation Blessing International, please visit


Operation Blessing International (OBI) provides humanitarian services such as strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development in 39 countries in the last year. Founded in 1978, Operation Blessing International has touched the lives of more than 321 million people in more than 105 countries and 50 states.

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Chris Roslan
Roslan & Campion Public Relations
(917) 538-5629


Your support is critical in helping families struck by disaster. Click here to make an online donation today and let your gift make a significant impact in the lives of those who urgently need it.

Bringing Life to Dry Places

WORLDWIDE – One of the top commitments of Operation Blessing and our faithful partners is bringing life to dry places all around the world. Sometimes this means bringing educational or business opportunities to areas in need, or medical care where none is available. But often it means literally bringing clean water to areas lacking enough safe drinking water.

While the human body can go weeks without food, and years without medical care, it can only survive a few days without water. Without clean water, communities struggle through debilitating stomach ailments and other waterborne diseases, some fatal. Children miss school and parents are unable to work due to illness.

That’s why Operation Blessing remains dedicated to supplying clean drinking water as one of our core programs. Thanks to your faithful support, we’re able to use a multi-fold approach. We treat each situation uniquely. By assessing the surrounding conditions, we choose the very best solution for lasting success.

Natural Disasters: During natural disasters that pollute water sources and destroy municipal systems, clean water often becomes the most urgent need. Thanks to you, Operation Blessing moves in quickly, whether in the wake of a hurricane in the United States, a flood in Mexico, or an earthquake in Indonesia. We supply bottled water and filtration systems for immediate relief during a crisis. Then, in long term situations like the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico, we remain on the ground long after many other organizations have left. And we provide necessary safe water technology and guidance to keep clean water flowing to those in need.

Water Wells: In many dry places like Zambia, India, or parts of Latin America, a deep water well provides the best solution for fresh, clean water. Operation Blessing experts assess the situation and provide the resources to dig deeper and more efficiently to find those essential life-giving water supplies.

Community Water Systems: For communities in areas like Honduras or Guatemala, rain falls abundantly, but water sources quickly become contaminated by run off chemicals, waste, or even natural causes. And often, they lie far distances away. In these situations, a community water system provides the best long-term solution by funneling a natural water source down into a community. Combined with a purification system built within a 5,000 to 10,000-gallon water storage tank and pipeline network connecting homes directly to safe water contained within the storage tank, community water systems can provide clean water for decades to come.

Filtration Systems: Filtration systems can also provide a great solution in areas where water is abundant and easily available, but still not safe to drink. Like along Lake Titicaca in Peru. This might occur due to poor municipal water systems, contaminated wells, or disaster situations. In these cases, Kohler Clarity water filters can be distributed to individual schools or families. Operation Blessing can also supply larger community filtration systems or desalination systems as the situation demands.

Chlorination: Chlorination provides another powerful weapon in our battle against unsafe water. A small hand held device like the H2gO or the tabletop community SE200 can easily create enough chlorine to purify water for a village in Haiti or the Judean Desert. Meanwhile, large scale chlorination systems can be used to generate disinfectant for hospitals in places like Africa, or provide safe water for entire communities after disasters.

Safe to Drink at Last

HAITI – For many rural and remote communities in Haiti, access to safe water is an ongoing challenge. In December of 2017, Operation Blessing was conducting a medical mission in Kay Elie when OBI staff learned that the village and surrounding areas didn’t have clean water. As a result, the people were suffering from water-borne diseases. Thankfully, because of your support, Operation Blessing was able to provide a solution—chlorine. In the United States, chlorine has been used to disinfect drinking water for over a century. However, in places like Kay Elie there is little water supply infrastructure and no way to make chlorine.

Ending Waterborne Disease

Thanks to the support of faithful partners like you, Operation Blessing was able to respond immediately to the needs of Kay Elie and surrounding areas by giving two month’s worth of chlorine to each family who came to the medical mission. The chlorine had an immediate effect, and the instances of water-borne disease began to decrease. However, the finite supply quickly began to run out.

Helping the World Water Crisis

Kay Elie is far from the main road and supplying them with chlorine is a challenge. A more sustainable solution was needed, so Operation Blessing brought eight small H2gO chlorine generators and a larger SE200 unit.

A truck making a delivery of safe water supplies.

Elsewhere in Haiti, even hospitals depend on Operation Blessing to supply chlorine for their water and for use as a disinfectant. Hospital Saint Boniface in Forets des Blanc receives shipments of chlorine from OBI, they then distribute the chlorine to other clinics and communities helping over 8,000 people a month. Not only that, the largest hospital in Haiti, the HUEH General Hospital, which serves over 20,000 people a month, uses chlorine from Operation Blessing in their water system and to keep their facilities sanitary.

Facing the threat of cholera, Pastor Arun in the Haitian community of Forets des Pins started a chlorine distribution program in 2013. Operation Blessing partners helped Pastor Arun by providing him with several chlorine generators that have allowed him to protect his neighbors. Since the program started five years ago, Pastor Arun reports that the area has not had a single case of cholera!

A delivery of chlorine.

Thanks to your support, these are just a few examples of how Operation Blessing is using chlorine to improve the well-being of vulnerable populations across Haiti. Thank you for your compassionate heart that’s showing God’s love to the world through practical, powerful humanitarian aid.

A Tsunami of Water but Not a Drop to Drink

INDONESIA – When multiple earthquakes and a tsunami struck Indonesia, over 800 were killed and thousands were displaced from their homes. Despite the devastating wall of ocean water that swept over Palu City following the disasters, one of the greatest needs was clean drinking water.

Clean Water in Disasters

Obor Berkat (Operation Blessing) Indonesia moved into the area with relief just as soon as the immediate danger passed. With your help, the relief team provided emergency food, water, medical care, and solar lights to those living in makeshift camps and shelters.

However, the need for water proved great and far-reaching. Thanks to faithful supporters like you, a team of Operation Blessing water experts arrived to assess the best way to provide long term relief. Their goal: to deliver safe water technology and assist the local team in establishing a plan they could continue into the future.

On their arrival, they pinpointed locations, hospitals, and shelters in greatest need. Based on the number of people in need and other pertinent information, they chose the best safe water solution for each location.

The team also trained staff, volunteers, and community members in how to use the various safe water technologies. They distributed more than 150 H2gO handheld chlorinators, 8 SE-200 community chlorine generators, over 120 water backpacks for transporting water, and more than 40,000 water purifying Aquatabs!

Clean Water Tools Make a Difference

Each of these tools can turn unsafe water into clean, fresh water quickly and effectively, providing that vital source of life to entire communities of hurting disaster victims. In addition, you made it possible for the team set up larger systems and begin distributing huge quantities of bottled water to survivors in need.

Many children, families, and adults can’t return to their homes, either because they’ve been destroyed or for fear that the region still isn’t safe. Some of the survivors have moved to remote villages in the mountains for fear of another tsunami, and Operation Blessing has been one of the first organizations to reach them with aid.

By the time the OBI team of water experts left the area, they had trained the local staff to continue the work of supplying safe, clean water for those in need. Your ongoing support makes this kind of urgent and sustainable relief possible. Thank you for your heart to bless disaster victims like Ifa during their darkest hours.

Reaching Hurricane Florence Victims

NORTH CAROLINA – In September, monster storm Hurricane Florence made impact along the U.S. East Coast. But thanks to your support, Operation Blessing’s U.S. Disaster Relief team stood ready to quickly respond to the desperate needs of hurricane victims.

As the storm made landfall, truckloads of relief supplies were staged near the disaster zone. Included in OBI’s arsenal was a mobile kitchen capable of making 1,000 meals per day, flood kits supplied by The Home Depot, pallets of bottled water, food, hygiene items, and more.

Disaster Relief Supplies

Thankfully, the storm, once a category 4, hit land in North Carolina as a category 1 hurricane. Still, Hurricane Florence packed a powerful punch. It crept slowly inland dumping enormous amounts of rain and causing significant wind and flood damage.

Two days after the initial impact, OBI began our first relief distribution in New Bern, N.C. This area with many low-income individuals suffered a hard hit from Hurricane Florence, and the conditions became worse throughout the week as nearby rivers rose. Without Limits Christian Center provided a distribution point and volunteers as OBI passed out hygiene items, flood kits, water, and food. They continued to partner with us over the coming weeks to help deploy and house volunteers to aid hurting residents with recovery.

Reaching Out To Hurricane Florence Victims With Hot Meals

In Lumberton, N.C, we quickly set up a second relief hub in partnership with East Lumberton Baptist Church. In the meantime more semi-truckloads of supplies and a KOHLER Disaster Relief Showering Trailer arrived at the impact zone to aid those in need and support the volunteer effort.

Sadly, 53 people lost their lives in Hurricane Florence, but you’ve sent help and hope to so many desperate survivors of the storm. We’ve served over 45,000 hot meals and our volunteer teams have helped to clean out and start the repair process on more than 90 homes. Over 1,500 Operation Blessing volunteers have reached out to the people of North Carolina, earning a visit of appreciation from the governor of the state.

Hurricane victims and their dog, helped by Operation Blessing

It’s only because of you that we can offer this type of immediate and effective hurricane relief to help the hurting. Thank you for giving the gift of hope to hurricane victims in their darkest hours.

Check out stories of our efforts in North Carolina here.

Jimmy Fallon Gets in on the Blessings!

NORTH CAROLINA, USA – This week on The Tonight Show, a family from Lumberton, North Carolina received the surprise of a lifetime. Divya, Terry, and their twelve-year-old son Lucas lived through the heartache of seeing their precious, inherited home destroyed not once, but twice by hurricane flooding. But thanks to Jimmy Fallon, The Home Depot Foundation, and Operation Blessing supporters like you, their tragedy is turning to triumph.

Divya grew up in Lumberton, and she received her grandmother’s house when she passed away. That place is very special to her and always takes her back to her childhood. She said simply, “It’s home.” So when Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016, the family decided to repair their home and stay put.

Divya was left this home by her grandmother.

They felt certain that Matthew had been a once in a hundred years’ storm, and they worked hard to get their home back into shape. Meanwhile, Divya continued working at her small salon in town, and Terry as a corrections officer.

When Hurricane Florence headed their way this year, they thought their house would be fine. Still, they heeded the warnings to get to higher ground just to make sure they didn’t get trapped, and they took all the precautions they could to protect their house.

Hurricane Florence Destruction

It wasn’t until after the worst of the storm, when a nearby river crested later that week, that tragedy struck for a second time. Divya experienced the heartache of seeing her home destroyed with contaminated water and mold once again. She said, “For lack of a better word, it’s a disaster…. I was kind of numb. You don’t want it to be true.”

Facing the flooding with no flood insurance for the second time proved truly challenging for the family. But they managed to maintain their faith. In the midst of it all Divya quoted Romans 8:28, saying, “’All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.’ So that’s where I’m finding peace.”

Divya greeting the Operation Blessing volunteers.

Some of their friends encouraged them to abandon the home, but it means too much to them, and Divya kept thinking of what her grandmother would want.

Hurricane Relief Blessings

As Operation Blessing volunteers showed up on the scene to help remove flooring, sheet rock, and damaged items from the home, matters begin to look up for the family. At the time, Divya said, “Thank you to those who give…. I’m grateful and my heart is leaping. I have some hope now.”

Little did they suspect the relief they received at that time was just the beginning of the blessings in store! On November 27th the couple had a chance to attend The Tonight Show. But they had no idea the surprise waiting for them.

Repairing Divya's home.

Jimmy Fallon asked them to stand and share a little about their story. Then, to their shock, he announced that The Home Depot Foundation and Operation Blessing would be completely restoring their home. Divya cried as he explained they would receive a new roof, insulation, furnace, flooring, appliances, landscaping, furniture, and more! Then Lucas surprised them to join in for a big hug. Check out the heartwarming video.

As Divya predicted, it’s clear that God is working things together for her family’s good, and turning their tragedy into triumph. This kind of amazing blessing is only possible because of generous supporters like you! Thank you for making this story possible.

Fighting Hunger Around the Globe

WORLDWIDE – Worldwide hunger is on the rise due to famine, natural disasters, economic slowdowns, and violent conflicts. But your gifts to Operation Blessing are fighting hunger around the globe.

Food Scarcity

In America, Operation Blessing’s Hunger Strike Force and Project Lunchbox ensure that children, families, and others have the food they need during difficult times. Small business opportunities, poultry projects, and community gardens provided by OBI throughout Latin America break the cycle of poverty and supply food for those in need. In Haiti, Peru, and Kenya, thanks to you, school children receive nutritious meals to help them grow healthy and strong.

When famine strikes in Africa, Operation Blessing delivers much needed supplies to those desperate for relief. In Nepal, children who were once forced into working long hours are now nourished, housed, and educated. And in the area of Galilee in Israel, an OBI-sponsored food truck helps ensure food security for the poor in the community. During times of disaster including hurricanes in Puerto Rico, floods in Japan, earthquakes in Mexico, and volcanoes in Guatemala, you send food, water, and other vital supplies to the hurting.

And these are just a few examples of how you are fighting hunger each and every day. During this Thanksgiving season, we offer our sincere thanks for your faithful support.

An infographic about worldwide hunger statistics.

Longtime CBN Friend Helped After Hurricane Michael

FLORIDA, USA – When retired pastors Marie and Gene faced the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in their home near Panama City Beach, they could have easily fallen into despair. But as longtime friends of CBN and their sister organization, Operation Blessing, they knew just where to turn for help.

Thankfully, eighty-two-year-old Marie and her eighty-four-year-old husband Gene had the wisdom to hunker down in a shelter during Hurricane Michael. Marie said, “This one when it started—we knew we had to get out.” They only heard the freight train sounds at a distance. But once they left the shelter, evidence of the storm’s destructive power lay all around them. Gene said he saw “miles and miles of devastation.” And Marie added, “It’s like bombs were dropped.”

The damage to a building on Marie and Gene's property.

Overall, Gene and Marie fared better than some. Still, around 20 trees littered their yard, most of their outbuildings were damaged, and their roof suffered leaks. Mold infiltrating their home was especially hard on Marie due to a previous illness. The thought of recovering after the disaster could have easily overwhelmed the couple.

A black and white newspaper clipping of the CBN soap opera Marie did make up for.

However, Marie had worked as a makeup artist for CBN back in the early 80s during the days of their Christian soap opera, “Another Life.” She remembered seeing the massive Operation Blessing trucks heading out. At the time she thought how wonderful that they were there to help people, and she always believed they would be available for her too, if she needed them.

A female volunteer helps clear branches.

So she contacted Operation Blessing, and sure enough, thanks to the support of friends like you, a team arrived to help shortly after they returned to their home. In tears, Marie said, “It’s so amazing to know that they are here for me now….Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

A volunteer using a chain saw on Gene and Marie’s property.

As retired pastors, Gene and Marie firmly believe in the grace of God and the compassion of His people. Marie said, “The best thing that happens in a disaster is people coming together.” Meanwhile, Gene said the help of Operation Blessing volunteers “is a witness to the world that there are still those who care, and care deeply.” The OBI team removed the many fallen trees from the couple’s yard and secured tarps to their damaged roof.

 Marie shows the Broken Vessels painting in her art studio.

Marie has been an artist all her life, often earning a living from her paintings. While her art studio was also damaged, the team saw in her a hard worker, determined to keep creating as long as the Lord gives her strength.

She shared some of her artwork with us. Appropriately, she showed us a painting called “Broken Vessels.” When you shine a black light on it, you see a hidden picture of Jesus remaking the vessel. Similarly, Marie and Gene know that God can rebuild their city and their lives.

The invisible painting of Jesus and the new vessel in black light.

They realize that Panama City Beach will never be the same. Marie even reported that her daughter got lost twice while driving with no familiar landmarks to guide her. But Gene said, “What we have in our heart…that’s where our treasure is.”

Marie added, “He’ll give us new stuff…and replenish it like the God He is.” This precious woman with her artist’s soul said that after this disaster, she’s “more determined to see the beauty in things” than ever before.

Marie smiles and remains determined to find the beauty around her.

Thank you for sending help to these longtime friends of CBN, and for helping to create beauty in the midst of disaster.

Empowering Children to “Say No” to Abuse

LATIN AMERICA – Yo Digo No, or “I Say No,” protects children from predators in Latin America by providing the educational foundation to stop child sexual exploitation and trafficking in its tracks.

Some estimates report that 2 million children and adolescents suffer sexual exploitation each year in Latin America. Thanks to you, Operation Blessing has responded by initiating Yo Digo No, an original program created to train elementary school children to protect themselves. Using songs, coloring books, puppets, games, and more, instructors teach children, in ways they can understand, how to identify, say no to, and report sexual abuse. Often in risky situations, knowledge truly is power—the power to protect yourself and your family.

Just Say No to Sexual Abuse

The classes, currently running in Cuba, Peru, and Honduras, with plans to launch soon in Guatemala, meet over a course of four to five weeks. During that time, children learn vital lessons like identifying untrustworthy people, not keeping secrets, and running from danger. Parents receive an overview of the training as well.

Teachers at participating schools assist in the program and undergo training to help them spot and intervene in potential abuse situations. During the Yo Digo No program, children are also given opportunities to speak with psychologists as needed.

Protecting Children in Latin America

Children in Latin America hold up signs as they learn to say no to child abuse and human trafficking.

At the end, the children often offer a performance, an art exhibition, or a march for their community to demonstrate what they learned. More importantly, they are empowered with the courage to boldly say no when the situation demands. The students, parents, and teachers all gain tools to raise awareness and support those being affected by child sexual abuse and trafficking.

Thanks to your ongoing support, Operation Blessing is able to spot important needs in communities all around the world and quickly respond. You are empowering children in Latin America and giving them a brighter future.

Blessings in the Heartbreak of Panama City

PANAMA CITY, FL: Following the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida panhandle in recorded history, Panama City lifetime resident and diabetic, Ed, managed to see the blessings within the heartache all around him.

Hurricane Michael Hits Florida

Hurricane Michael had been expected to hit the Florida panhandle as a category 1 or 2 storm, which Ed explained would have been nothing. They’ve been through those storms many times before. But as it neared land, it quickly strengthened to a category 4 storm, coming just shy of category 5 status.

Ed's damaged home with fallen trees surrounding it.

Although Ed lived through powerful hurricanes like Opal and Ivan, he said, “Michael’s been the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve never experienced a storm that violent.” Michael slammed into the panhandle and swept up the U.S. mainland causing damage and deaths as far away as Virginia. At least 36 people lost their lives, and experts estimate billions of dollars in property damage. Not far from Ed’s home, parts of Mexico Beach were completely obliterated.

This window panel was sucked out during the worst of Hurricane Michael.

Without much time to anticipate the strength of the storm, Ed rode it out at home. The winds shocked him with their strength. He said, “I’ve never heard it roar like that…but we just hung on.” During the worst of the storm, the wind sucked a window panel right out of his wall, leaving them exposed to the elements.

Hurricane Relief from Operation Blessing

But Operation Blessing was ready and waiting to help the moment the danger passed. They quickly set up a base at Lighthouse Church and began serving hot meals and mobilizing volunteer teams to help residents clear trees and repair damaged homes.

An OBI volunteer chopping fallen trees in Ed’s yard.

Many people in the Panama City area suffered tree damage, lost roofs, and blown out windows. The high school Ed had attended and many other buildings were completely decimated. Ed said, “It’s just heartbreak. What people have worked all their lives for now is gone. And I know it’s material things, but still, a lot of people don’t have that kind of money to rebuild.”

A female volunteer carries debris to the street.

Debris and downed trees littered Ed’s yard. He was having a hard time reaching his generator, and his home needed many repairs after the storm. Still, Ed focused on the positive saying, “Ed Grant was blessed because the Lord just loves me and watches over me…. And I’ve been blessed every day we go through this. We don’t have hardly anything, but I’m still blessed.”

Ed prays with the Operation Blessing team.

He felt especially blessed when Operation Blessing volunteers arrived on the scene to help this kind, diabetic man restore his home. The team cleared fallen trees and debris and helped him with repairs. Ed said, “Ya’ll are doing a real good job, and I thank the Lord for it.”

A rainbow of hope over the OBI headquarters in Panama City.

Thank you to our faithful partners for sending blessings to Ed and the residents of Panama City during this time of intense heartache. Ed holds out much hope for the future, saying, “We’re gonna overcome it. That’s just the way we are here.”

Please consider volunteering or sending a special gift for disaster relief during this difficult time.