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Houston trip to help others ‘more than a success’

Houston trip to help others ‘more than a success’
October 05
05:30 2017

Over 40 volunteers left Winston-Salem on Aug. 24 headed to Houston, Texas, to help with relief for Hurricane Harvey victims.  Last Thursday those volunteers returned to town to tell their story.

The group included people from all different demographics who came together for the greater good, helping others.  Even with mechanical issues on the way there and on the return trip, they all felt it was a total success.

“We set out to have a dualistic impact, which many of them did not realize on the front end,” said Rev. Dr. Lamonte Williams, president of the Ministers Conference of Winston Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV) and event organizer.  “As the visionary of the event my goal was to have an impact on the victims and also on the volunteers.”

On the way to Houston, the bus they were riding on experienced a mechanical issue, which resulted in an eight-hour delay.  That did not damper the mood as the volunteers were in high spirits as they hit the ground running once they made it to their final destination.

John Pollock of Offering to a Hungry Nation (OTAHN), one of the organizers who partnered with Dr. Williams, was present on the trip.  Before leaving, Pollock was able to collect over 500 cases of water along with non-perishable items and clothing to take to the victims.

“I feel that the effect that the trip had on Houston was promising because you saw people with no hope rejuvenated by people who filled them with hope,” Pollock said.  “For one it is really bad down there. All of the houses down there have been affected.  All of the houses down there are just frames.

“Everything that we did was for free and to have the people down there seeing that we weren’t down there working for money is what I appreciated the most,” he continued.  “That shows that people still do care and we weren’t even from there.  We live in a world now where people are about self, but we put all of that aside for a week to help somebody.”

There were many young people involved with the volunteer efforts as well.  Chris Royster, 21, felt as though the trip was more than a success.

“Everything didn’t go according to plan, but I feel like it was a great trip,” he said.  “It was nothing better to see the smiles on the people’s faces.  We came in there and they were a little down but as we interacted with them and got the job done, they enjoyed themselves just as much as we did.”

“It made me a little more grateful and appreciative because things can get bad but they can always be worse,” he said.  “It is still hope whether it’s good or bad.  It was a great experience overall.”

Charlemagne Tate added, “This trip was one of the best things that has ever happened to me because it gave me a better outlook on things.  You hear about people having problems but to help people dealing with the hurricane makes you want to travel more to help other people.”

For Williams he says he was happy that the volunteers were impacted just as much as the people they traveled to help.

“Many of the volunteers told me that this exceeded what they initially expected,” Williams said.  “For me it reminded me of how fragile life really is.  I was expecting to see disgruntled people but people find faith even in turbulent times.”

Williams says he feels they left a message of “you are not alone” to the victims of the hurricane.  He says when he stepped off the bus he knows their efforts were not in vain because they were able to see  firsthand the people they helped.

Going forward, Williams says they want to plan another trip down to the Houston area because they know the relief efforts will continue.  He also stated they want to sponsor the recovery effort for one of the victims they encountered during their trip.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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