A Church and Moore


After a massive tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, in May 2013, Church of the Harvest turned its Midwest City campus into a disaster relief center.

The tornado missed the church’s Moore campus by just a mile and a half.

“We were just right there in the middle of it,” says Pastor Kirk Pankratz. “After the storm, we realized we could use this as a staging base long-term.”

In the year since the tornado, relief goods, rebuilding materials, and volunteer teams poured into Moore. World Vision and Church of the Harvest partnered to make sure those resources went to families most in need.

As World Vision mobilized donors’ resources to send emergency aid to the disaster zone, Church of the Harvest deployed more than 5,000 volunteers, prepared more than 35,000 meals, and stocked up on donated household goods and furniture.

“Seeing our church and hundreds of churches and volunteers literally from around the nation come together was an overwhelming experience,” Kirk says in a video produced after the initial response.

After the immediate relief activities and media coverage died down, the church provided volunteer housing for visiting church teams and contractors while World Vision staff turned part of the building into a 3,000-square-foot warehouse for building materials.

Zack Hesser, who runs the response for Church of the Harvest, was inspired by the outpouring of donations and steady stream of volunteers throughout 2013.

“God’s really been blessing us and filling in those voids really well,” Zack says.

“[World Vision] made tremendous strides in responding to children and families in Moore through great partners,” says Phyllis Freeman, who led the organization’s Oklahoma effort. “Having a warehouse in a disaster zone is strategic to organizations that are dependent upon volunteers to help with the rebuilding efforts.”


Written by Chris Huber

Photo © 2013 Mo Sadjadpour / Genesis Photos


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