VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/8/17)American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) urges American Baptists to pray for and donate One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to those in the path of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5-turned-Category 4 storm that has affected the Caribbean islands, rendering approximately 1 million people in Puerto Rico without power. Media outlets are calling Hurricane Irma the “strongest Atlantic storm in recorded history.” Florida is bracing for the storm, which is bringing winds of at least 150 mph to the states and may reach as far as the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee.

Irma has followed closely on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on the Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, severely affecting both Texas and Louisiana.

At Corporacion Milagros del Amor, an ABHMS partner in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Executive Director Yamina Apolinaris and her staff are caring for the homeless population. Before Irma hit Puerto Rico, Apolinaris and her staff prepared and distributed kits of drinking water, pre-cooked meals, clothes, insect repellent, rain capes, basic articles and information about shelters.

Donations can be made via your church; via credit card online through ABHMS’ website at > Give Now; or check designated to “OGHS-Hurricane Irma” and mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check or, if giving online, in the “comment” box.

More information about various ways you can help immediately is available in a Q&A developed by Victoria Goff, ABHMS national coordinator, Disaster-response Ministries.

American Baptist International Ministries will continue to monitor the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean islands and join the appeal if the area is significantly impacted.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.