Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham association assisting Leamington's tornado

Christian organizations will coordinate volunteers' disaster clean-up work, offer support

CALGARY, June 8 /CNW/ - Samaritan's Purse Canada, in response to a formal request from the town of Leamington, has agreed to coordinate the efforts of volunteers who arrive in the southern Ontario community to help clean up after last Sunday's powerful tornado that damaged or destroyed an estimated 50 homes. Samaritan's Purse will also coordinate equipment and building supplies that are donated to the clean-up effort.

Meanwhile, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada (BGEAC) has accepted an invitation from Leamington churches to send Rapid Response Team chaplains to the disaster site to offer emotional and spiritual support to local residents, and to train volunteers so they can provide simiilar support in Leamington.

"We are committed to helping the people of Leamington recover," said Brent Davis, coordinator of Samaritan's Purse's disaster relief efforts, and Melanie Neufeld, manager of BGEAC's Rapid Response Team program.

Samaritan's Purse employees are already at the disaster site - assessing the damage and determining which damaged or destroyed homes to address first. They will be recruiting volunteers to assist with the clean-up work, which will include cutting up and removing fallen trees, branches and other debris; boarding over broken windows; and installing water-proof tarp over damaged roofs. BGEAC Rapid Response Team personnel will arrive in Leamington later this week to begin counseling and volunteer training.

"Many people have been affected by the storm's devastation, and the clean up for some will be difficult," said Leamington Mayor John Adams. "We are very grateful to Samaritan's Purse Canada for stepping in to coordinate the volunteer effort on our behalf. Our community will recover much faster from this experience with their help."

"We invited Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham association to help get people back into their homes and also address their deeper needs," added Jeph Maagdeleyn, pastor of Leamington's Meadow Brook Fellowship church. "People here have been hit really badly by this - right to their core. They need help in not just putting their houses back together, but their lives back together. Together, we can offer them the love of Christ."

Donations Needed

Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to Samaritan's Purse's disaster relief efforts can call 1-800-663-6500 or visit (click on "Donate"). Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to BGEAC's Rapid Response Team work can call 1-800-293-3717 or visit (click on "Support Us"). Those wanting to donate construction equipment or supplies can call 1-519-962-9338.

Volunteers Needed

People wanting to be part of Samaritan's Purse Canada's clean-up efforts in Leamington, or BGEAC's Rapid Response Team work there, can call 1-519-962-9338

About Samaritan's Purse Canada

Samaritan's Purse Canada is an international Christian relief and development organization working in about 70 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. The Calgary-based charity also operates the well-known Operation Christmas Child program that sends gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world each year, and the Turn on the Tap initiative that raises funds for life-saving BioSand Water Filters the developing world. Go to for more information.

About the BGEAC

The BGEAC is well-known for the powerful outreach ministry of its founder, Billy Graham. It is non-denominational - partnering with churches and Christian communities in Canada and around the world to share the life-saving message of Jesus. The BGEAC strives to use language and methods that authentically resonate with people of all ages and cultures. Each of its growing number of ministries - for adults, teens, and children - is prayerfully led by men and women with a passion to share their Savior's love. Go to for more information.

SOURCE Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information: For further information: Media Inquiries: Jeff Adams, Director, Communications and Creative Services Dept., Samaritan's Purse Canada and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, 1-800-663-6500 or 1-403-615-8747 (cell),

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