Hurricane Michael came through with tremendous force and left many communities and people devastated. Through connections, we found Calloway Community Church and learned of the hope that they were providing for their destroyed community. After speaking with Pastor Eddie Pitts, Executive Director Tracy Hipps, knew CSM had to do more than send resources to help. Pastor Pitts and his wife were living amongst the wreckage, trying their best to serve others, while having lost their sense of normalcy. Birmingham knows all too well how hard it is to continue serving others when your life situation is the same as theirs and so we wanted to be able to serve Pastor Pitts as well.

During our first trip, we partnered with Mountain Brook Community Church to send a team to work on the damaged church. Since the hurricane destroyed one section and ripped the roof off the rest of the church building, so the CSM Housing team was eager to help to restore the church building as a center for help and worship. This team rebuilt rafters, weatherproofed the roof, and built a storage shed for housing food and supplies. They also gave out food and gift cards in the neighborhood, met with people in the community, and helped the Pastor and his wife, secure their 5th wheel to a sewer so they could continue to live there even though their house had been damaged.

One CSM volunteer commented “Personally, as usual, I was ready to get the job done and as usual that was not God’s plan.  My heart was broken by the amount of devastation and the hopelessness left behind by the hurricane.  Seeing people live their lives in such utter poverty, out of their cars, or in tents made a deep impression on me. The appreciation on the faces of so many of the neighbors was evident and they didn’t have to say a word.  The people of Panama City will need more help than we could ever give but we should keep on giving and going and praying and helping in any way God our Father leads us.  That is what the body of Christ does, not because were good, but because He dwells in us and moves us to do His good work for His Glory.”

After speaking with Pastor Eddie Pitts, Executive Director Tracy Hipps, knew CSM had to do more than send resources to help.

One need that was noticed while on the trip was a lack of transportation. People were walking for several hours a day to get to the store for basic necessities because cars were damaged or gas was non-existent. Working with Bob’s Bike’s in Homewood along with several generous donors, we were able to supply Calloway with brand new bicycles to share with their community. The Pastor wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to store and assemble all of the bikes but God had already made a way. A youth group from Oak Mountain Presbyterian called CSM and said they would be in the area and asked if there was anything they could do to help. So the youth group saved the day, assembled the bikes, and helped remove debris and clean up the community! The work was done quickly and the Pastor was encouraged by fellow believers coming to help him and his community!

We will keep in touch with Pastor Pitts as his community works to get back to their new normal and hope to continue providing hope and resources as needed.