Local ministry to help tornado victims
Tom Gantt Ministries, located on Highway 37 south of Cassville, will be traveling to Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama to assist people living in the communities that were devasted by tornadoes last week.
Gantt plans to focus relief efforts on smaller communities, similar in size to cities located in Barry County.
"Aid often trickles down to the small communities slowly," said Gantt. "We plan to let the Lord lead us to some of those smaller towns."
An assortment of clothing, hygiene items and other necessities will be taken to the storm-ravaged area in four cargo trailers. Gantt will pull one of the trailers with the ministries' vehicle. Volunteers are needed to pull a second large triple axle cargo trailer and two medium-sized cargo trailers.
"Around 10 years ago, we lost everything we had when our farm home burned to ground and God blessed us with a home," said Gantt. "A tornado and a fire are almost brother and sister, and when you experience something like that, it makes you realize that you have to help people.
"God has blessed us," said Gantt. "I've got these trailers sitting here, and I feel I need to use them to help those folks down there. We will be making several trips over the next few months, because we know the need there will be constant for awhile. Rebuilding is going to be a hard process for them."
Volunteers, who will travel at their own expense, will leave Cassville within the next few weeks. Individuals should bring sleeping bags, tents, motor homes, camper trailers, chain saws and tools on the trip.
Several large tents will be taken on the trip to serve as shelters and a command post. A tent will also be used for church and revival services. A PA system, folding chairs, folding tables and a camp kitchen will be needed for the trip.
Individuals who travel with Tom Gantt Ministries will be required to work long hours during the mission. Volunteers are needed to cook for workers during the trip and pack and load donations before the group's departure.
"We would like to receive donations in cardboard boxes," said Gantt. "If the donor could write on the outside of the box what items are included, it would help us load the trailers a lot faster. We hope we don't have to spend a lot of time sorting through items."
Gantt is currently collecting donations, which will be given to individuals impacted by the severe weather. The following items are needed: cots; sheets, pillows, pillow cases and blankets; toilet paper; bottled water; lanterns; clothing for men, women, teens, children and babies; baby food; diapers; non-perishable food items; first aid items; personal hygiene products; flashlights; batteries; and portable radios.
"We would really like to receive some stuffed animals and toys too," said Gantt. "When a family loses everything, their priorities are not toys, but a doll or a bear might mean a lot to a little girl or boy."
New and used Bibles are also being collected for the mission. Each person who the group assists will receive a Bible.
"The Lord spared these lives, and after they have lost all of their belongings, one thing they will need is a Bible," said Gantt. "Humanitarian effort is wonderful, but people need to know about Jesus too."
Tom Gantt Ministries has collected donations from southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas for the Navajo Indians in Arizona and Mexico for many years.
"The people here have always given in abundance to help the Navajo missions, which are very important, but in some ways I believe this is even more important," said Gantt. "We have got to do things to help each other in times like this."
For more information on Tom Gantt Ministries or the relief effort, call 847-3108.