Unfamiliar Territory

My family moved to Texas a little over seven months ago when I came on staff at Feed the Need Missions. Hailing from the Northwest, we’ve seen little in the way of natural disasters. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I could grasp some of what happens when catastrophe strikes.  

We were just closing on the sale of our home in Elgin, Texas when the tornado warnings began. By mid-afternoon, these escalated to shelter-in-place orders. I will never forget the eerie feeling I got when instructed to “hide in the center of my home and brace for possibility of impact.” What a jarring reality to be faced with for the first time.

Fortunately, nothing happened to our new home. But news quickly began to circulate about possible touchdowns. My mind raced. Were my neighbors and friends safe? How could we help? What should we do next? Just as I started to panic, the reassuring Spirit of the Lord showed up and Isaiah 41:13, which I had committed to memory, echoed in my mind:

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Help resonated with me. God was reminding me that He is the helper I need. It was scary, but I wasn’t alone. I remembered what was most important in those moments. I felt immediate relief in being reminded that I have all I need in Him, and He would surely guide me in what steps to take next.

Blessed to be a Blessing

It didn’t take long for those steps to be made clear. In the wake of the tornadoes, Feed the Need Missions was asked to deploy our Disaster Relief ministry arm to aid in the cleanup efforts. So, a small contingent of  faithful volunteers graciously came out the next Saturday to help. We set out to cook meals for those cleaning up.

That morning, a woman showed up and began to tell me the story of how her family had been impacted (I realized over the course of the day that when tragedy strikes, one of the biggest things needed is a listen ear and open heart). I listened as she shared, through tears of gratitude, how thankful she was that her sister and family was spared from the impact. What a clarifying experience disasters can be. They certainly remind us of what is most important.

She asked if I would like to join her in delivering food to her family and those impacted by the destruction. I realized that what this woman needed most wasn’t food—but to feel like she wasn’t alone. I smiled, recalling how just days earlier, I felt that same need, and the Lord filled it with His presence. Now, He was allowing me to be an extension of Him, by being present and bringing comfort to someone else in need.

You Gain When You Give

Nothing could have prepared my for the physical destruction I witnessed first hand. Homes lifted from foundations, structures obliterated into thousands of pieces. I witnessed a 20-foot beam from a home pierce through a garage, a car, a concrete slab and imbed itself four feet into the ground like a javelin. 

There were stories of fear, hurt, emptiness and pain. But even in this, God was providing hope and perspective. As I stood over the rubble of a 87-year-old man’s home, he said tearfully, “None of this stuff matters. What matters is what we choose to do with what God gives us!” His words continue to echo in my mind. It was incredible to see that as I poured out, my heart was softened, encouraged, and recentered. 

Get Involved in Disaster Relief

There’s an expression that I heard once that says,

“Crisis is opportunity dressed up in work clothes.”

When God is in the forefront of our lives, we have every reason to view challenges we face as opportunities to experience—and extend— the love of Christ. 

So here’s my question: Are you ready to see God move in lives across our communities? Are you ready to be an ambassador of God’s hope, peace and provision in the wake of crises? At Feed the Need Missions, we prepare all year long in the event that disaster strikes. Consider this your invitation to get involved with our Disaster Relief Team or as a volunteer at our weekly sites. I am confident you’ll find, as I did, that you’re just as blessed by the people you serve as they are by you. 

On average, nearly 7,000 natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis or fires— occur worldwide each year. That isn’t including those caused by humans, like explosions, chemical fires or terrorism. Though unpleasant to think about, the reality is that disaster could strike at any moment. And because of the unpredictable nature of such events, preparedness is key. Yet in a recent survey of the American public, only 41% felt that they were adequately prepared for an unexpected crisis.

What is Disaster Preparedness Month?

Solving this problem was the impetus behind the institution of Disaster Preparedness Month, a government observance sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The campaign takes place each September. During this time, the government works to raise awareness about the importance of disaster preparation, and shares helpful resources to the public.

Disaster Preparedness Tips

In light of Disaster Preparedness Month, and because disaster relief is an important part of what we do at Feed the Need Missions, we’ve provided a short list of tips and resources for preparing your home and family for the unthinkable.

Be in the Know

Not all disasters require the same preparation. Arm yourself with information and be sure you understand the different types of disasters to which you might be vulnerable, so you can best prepare for anything that comes your way. You can check out the Red Cross’s helpful guide for more information.

Make a Plan

Discuss evacuation plans, meeting locations, preferred hospitals and emergency contacts as a family. If you’re not sure where to start, check out FEMA’s helpful Basic Preparedness guide. It will guide you in creating your own customized plan.

Build Up Your Stockpile of Supplies

Instead of making a mad dash when a disaster is imminent, work to make a stockpile of necessities in advance. Batteries, gas, flashlights, sandbags, chargers, bottled water, plywood for windows, non-perishable foods and gas are just a few items you can get little by little at your weekly grocery store visit. For essentials and ideas, check out this helpful video.

Get the Kids Involved

Talk to you children about preparing for disaster. Make sure you do drills to help allay any fear or panic if you find yourself responding to an emergency. You can also access the CDC’s kid-friendly guide to disaster preparedness for more ideas.

Feed the Need Missions Disaster Relief

Feed the Need Missions is a faith-based 501 (c)3 non-profit organization based in Bastrop, Texas. Operating since 2010, we serve weekly, free hot meals in communities across Texas each week. We also dispatch volunteer teams equipped with trailers full of supplies to help respond to communities nationwide in the wake of disasters. Our goal is to help bring order to the chaos that disasters create by providing a hot meal, listening ear, and by sharing the hope of Jesus. To request disaster relief assistance for your community, contact us here. To help Feed the Need Missions stay ready to serve when disaster strikes, visit our Disaster Relief page.

Disaster brings a whirlwind of emotion, physical challenges, and perspective. Whether you’re a resident of the town that just went through a disaster, or a volunteer that traveled hundreds of miles to come and help; one thing is always obvious, God is moving and at work no matter what the circumstances.

We’ve had the privilege of serving Jennings, LA in response to Laura, the Category 4 Hurricane that ripped through Southwest Louisiana. Our purpose in serving is not only to provide a hot meal and lend a listening ear, but to instill hope to the community by bringing people from all walks of life together with one common purpose. This week people have served with us that own large businesses, work at grocery stores, are homeless on the street, and everything in between. What makes this special? The way Jesus uses all of us as the body to provide hope to a community devastated physically, but also spiritually.

Take for example a resident named Royce. Because of his appearance and where he lives, one might assume Royce to be experiencing extreme poverty. But when you give him a spatula and he gets to flip burgers for people in his community, that impoverished spirit quickly dissipates and he brings joy to all of those around him!

A middle school girl named Zyla, showed all of us what boldness looks like. If you had the chance to partner with her while serving, this is what you would’ve witnessed: With a calm and quiet voice she would gently proclaim that her name is Zyla and she is so thankful that you’re here today. Then she would almost robotically go down the checklist…ask for the guests name, fill in the order sheet with the food the family desires, and note what kind of vehicle they are in to make sure the food got back to them. But what happened next is profound. This little girl would reach her hand inside the car and grab the hand of the person she was talking to. She would then look the adult in the eye and say, “now I’m going to pray for you.” I watched an adult male start crying as she just poured words of encouragement over him.

THIS, my friends is why we do what we do. It’s not so that Feed the Need Missions can come and be heroes in a town that we’ve never heard of before. It’s to be a vessel that allows local people to minister to those in their own communities! When we follow Jesus, He often leads us to do things that have greater impacts on those around us than us ourselves. Be encouraged, and encourage others and let His love shine through you ALWAYS!!

While we may be aware of an approaching hurricane, it can still be difficult to pinpoint its exact path as it approaches the mainland. Fortunately, the National Weather Service sends out alerts and notifications as a hurricane progresses.

Follow the approach of the hurricane on TV, online, or on your battery-powered emergency weather radio. These emergency radios are ideal during severe weather since they will still operate even if the power’s out. As the storm gets closer, the knowledge you gather from your resources will help you know if and when you should evacuate, as well as other information as to how to act.

Here are some great tips on Hurricane Preparedness:


Planning makes perfect. By creating an emergency plan well before any hint of a hurricane is discovered, you will have time to go over it plenty of times before one actually arrives and practice any CPR/first aid training that you may have learnt from somewhere like Coast2Coast First Aid and Aquatics in case there is a medical emergency. This way, your chances of remembering that crucial information won’t slip your mind when things start to get hectic; you’ll always know what needs to be done.

Likewise, your plan will also help you get started and continue preparing. Take a look at what you need: water, food, alternate power, items to provide warmth, and other things as your situation dictates. Write down what you have so you can refer back to it, ensuring you don’t forget anything important. If you have pets, make sure you have a place for them while you weather out the storm in a shelter. Many hurricane shelters do not allow animals, so knowing what you’ll do with your pets ahead of time will make your life – and your pet’s – that much easier.

Get Prepared

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to start following it. Store water, food, and gear so when a hurricane does come, you’ll have everything you need close by. Collect emergency contact numbers, know your evacuation routes, and keep up-to-date on your preparations.

Also important is preparing your home to deal with the buffeting winds of hurricanes. To do so, flood insurance is a good place to start. You may also consider keeping your gutters clear, trimming your bushes, trees, and shrubs, as well as having the proper equipment to properly secure property in and around your home, such as ropes and bungee cords.

Take Action

Once the first sign of a hurricane shows up, it’s time to take action. Gather your gear and other emergency preparations you’ve collected. As the storm comes closer, board up your windows, strap down your property, and take care of any other last minute preparations.

Stay tuned to your emergency radio or local TV news network. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. This is where knowing your evacuation routes comes into play. And remember, if you have pets, don’t leave them at home! Take them with you.


Hurricanes are powerful and can leave you, your home, and your neighborhood in a big mess. Take a step back and examine yourself and your family members. Patch up any scrapes, cuts, or other injuries with your first aid kit. Only go into your home once it is deemed safe to do so by authorities, as downed power lines, gas leaks, and other hazards could pose a threat to your safety.

It’s possible that you will have some extra work to do following a hurricane. If you do, don’t try and do too much at once. Pace yourself, get adequate rest, and drink plenty of clean water. When working with debris, wear gloves and boots, and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Recovery will take time, but by preparing ahead of time, you can alleviate many post-hurricane problems.

Check out more of Disaster Preparedness here.


Help us be prepared for the unthinkable today.

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? Since 2011 Feed the Need Missions has served communities hit with devastating floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes with a hot meal, listening ear, and encouragement.

Can you help us be prepared to respond to the next disaster and make a donation today? Your gift of $10, $25, or $50 will help us respond quicker and serve more people when disaster strikes.

While we never hope for a disaster, we know your support will help us be even more prepared to respond when disaster does come our way.


Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm that hit Texas on August 25, 2017. It caused billions of dollars in damage according to the National Hurricane Center. That’s more than other natural disaster in U.S. history except Hurricane Katrina. In comparison, Hurricane Katrina dropped five to twenty inches of rain in 48 hours. Most of its flooding came from storm surges that overwhelmed the levee system.

Harvey made landfall three times in six days. At its peak on September 1, 2017, one-third of Houston was underwater. Two feet of rain fell in the first 24 hours. The flooding forced 39,000 people out of their homes and into shelters. Dallas even created a mega shelter for 5,000 evacuees out of its main convention center. Harvey’s impact was due to its power and its location. The Houston metro area is the nation’s fourth largest city with 6.6 million residents. If it were a country, it would be the world’s 23rd largest economy, larger than Poland or Sweden.

Feed the Need Missions was on the ground the next day once the Hurricane passed. A rescue boat headed to Katy, Texas, while we were feeding in Smithville, Texas at a shelter for victims. Southside Market and Barbeque helped relieve some of our efforts in LaGrange where we fed three meals a day.

Second Baptist Church reached out for help from the community and we responded with our disaster relief trailer that was set up in their parking lot. We sent out teams to feed in other communities, while we were set up at the site to feed people who needed it. So many hands and feet of Christ came to the aide for Houston and surrounding cities as well as the smaller towns in Central Texas.

Still today people are building their homes or are living with friends or family in order to get back on their feet. Please continue to pray for those affected. And for this new hurricane season. We also thank all of you for your helping during this time of devastation and need.


Help us be prepared for the unthinkable today.

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? Since 2011 Feed the Need Missions has served communities hit with devastating floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes with a hot meal, listening ear, and encouragement.

Can you help us be prepared to respond to the next disaster and make a donation today? Your gift of $10, $25, or $50 will help us respond quicker and serve more people when disaster strikes.

While we never hope for a disaster, we know your support will help us be even more prepared to respond when disaster does come our way.


Disaster Relief In Franklin, Texas


“I am exhausted,” said an officer from Franklin. If you haven’t heard, an F3 Tornado ripped through this small town in Texas. The Tornado destroyed a neighborhood and Feed the Need Missions was set up in the neighborhood to feed both the victims of the storm and the response teams for a week.

“This is my first time ever experiencing a disaster, and my heart hurts for those who are affected. You are never prepared for anything like this,” he said with tears in his eyes. “There’s not much we can do right now, other than being strong for our neighbors.” The officer was feeling the pain of those in his community who were suffering a devastating loss.

As he was walking away after getting a burger, he turned and looked at us and said “I can’t express enough how grateful we are to have you here. Everyone has been so helpful, and to see you sitting and spending time with people helps those in crisis. We can’t appreciate you enough, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

It’s never easy preparing for a disaster because a disaster “Just happens.” God knew the place we were suppose to be at the right time to help the community of Franklin, and to partner with a local BBQ restaurant and serve together. Not only was the Officer’s heart being changed but others that we served also.

Barbara, a retired gym teacher from Franklin, Texas lost her home in the Franklin F3 Tornado. “I was laying on my bedroom floor when the roof was lifted off of my house,” she said. Her aged father was in a closet in the hallway. “All I could do was pray, and pray hard,” she said with tears.

She brings so much joy to her community, before and after the tornado. In fact, people kept telling us how much joy she still brings to them even though she lost everything, including her three vehicles. When asked about her joy, she said, “Why let it get you down? All lives were spared by the grace of God. He didn’t have to do that.”

Like Barbara, many others got to experience what the love of Christ is all about. “I came here every morning, and every evening and sometimes at lunch time too. I could have easily went to other places giving out free food, but there is just something special about you people, I know it’s God, but come on, there must be something else,” she would tell us with a hug.

Barbara touched our hearts too. Watching the joy and her being strong for her community was endless. She welcomed everyone with open arms and asked every single person how they were doing. Some days she cried, but most days she had a smile. On our last day of serving she came by and hugged us all and said, “You have helped me so much in ways I can’t even describe, if my house is built by Christmas, you can all come to my house for Christmas dinner so I can feed you like you did for me and the community.”

Feed the Need Missions has wrapped up our time serving those affected by the tornado in Franklin, Texas, however we are always preparing to respond to the next disaster.

Can you partner with Feed the Need Missions and help us be prepared when a disaster strikes by providing a donation today? Simply click the donate button and designate your gift to disaster relief. Thank you!

Franklin Texas tornado relief

Feed the Need Missions has a team on the ground serving those affected by the devastating tornado that ripped through Franklin, Texas and beyond. We are serving hot meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to tornado victims, volunteers, first responders…really anyone who needs some nourishment, both physically and spiritually.

Your help is greatly needed at this time.


We need hands to come help prep and serve food, as well as lend a listening ear to those who might need it. We are serving three meals a day until we are no longer being utilized by the city of Franklin. This could be a couple days or even weeks. But the need is immediate as we currently have a couple people on the ground and it is very hard to keep up with the need.

UPDATE 4/18/19: Our team has moved from the First Baptist Church and is now set up at the Franklin Food Pantry located at 201 S Calvert St, Franklin, TX 77856 to be closer to the heart of the disaster where there is more need. We are serving from 6:30am – 9pm. Please be mindful that you will be responsible for finding a place to sleep if you plan to stay a couple days. We also encourage you, if possible, to review over our Volunteer Orientation if you have not done so before heading to Franklin.

Your flexibility and patience is also appreciated. Disaster relief is never straightforward and plans can change quickly. Please contact Jason Bray at 888-511-7173 x202 with any questions you might have.


Your financial support is also very needed so we can provide enough food and supplies for anyone who stops by. We have set up a donation page specifically for our Franklin, Texas Tornado relief efforts.

UPDATE: We also created a supplies list with specific items we use for our disaster relief efforts. Here is the list.


Please pray for the individuals and families that have been affected by this terrible disaster. Many homes have been lost and the city has a long rebuilding process ahead of them.

Also pray for our team on the ground. For strength and energy to keep going even when they are tired. And for wisdom and discernment as they talk with those in the thick of it in Franklin.

Thank you, Feed the Need family, for your support each week, and during these times of disaster. You are truly a blessing to so many.

Enduring the loss of loved ones, surviving two floods, and rebuilding their life after three wildfires, has certainly taken its toll on Mike and Jane Haley. While the fires were angry and consuming every thought, every second, every ounce of positivity from the Haleys, God brought Feed The Need Missions exactly where He needed them to be.

On October 13th, 2015 the “Hidden Pines Fire” began its raging descent across Bastrop. The Haleys quickly were rendered helpless with the loss of water and electricity. Daily, Jane would leave their home to visit the Smithville Fire Department and fill plastic containers. On one of those exhausting trips a thin, blue-eyed young man name Bryan offered to assist Jane in filling the water jugs and carried them to her car. He shared with Mary that his mother had been in the fire zone and he spoke of God’s goodness and His protection. Jane was finding it difficult to think of a protective and good God; especially when a fireman confirmed, “It’s headed your way.” Bryan comforted Jane with a sweet smile and a promise of prayer.

It was a surreal environment at home as Jane and Mike gathered what they regarded as most important while grimly watching their cattle herded into trailers and taken away. From their porch, they watched the smoke as it approached, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters dropping water on the growing fire, and a DC3 jet dropping orange retardant. Despite all these efforts, the fire continued to rage closer.

One morning, Jane and Mike simply wanted coffee. Driving into Smithville once again, they noticed people outside the Smithville Recreation Center. Our Feed The Need Missions crew quickly greeted them with breakfast and coffee. Jane and Mike were so touched they asked to join the team for lunch preparations. Joining hands with Feed The Need Missions provided a positive environment for Jane and Mike to be distracted, if only for a little while.

Later that night Bryan and Barb delivered a warm dinner, encouragement, and friendship to the Haley’s home. Overwhelmed once again with the ‘impossible generosity of strangers’, Jane and Mike hardly had words to express their gratitude for a hot dinner prepared by servant hands.

The Haleys returned the next day for breakfast and again stayed to prepare for lunch. As they were standing in the line serving, Mike received THE call on his cell stating, “If you have anything of value in your home, get it and get out now.” The fire was coming, and they had to get home immediately to get their bags, dogs and cats and leave. Despite the busy lunch rush the Feed The Need Missions Team surrounded Jane and Mike embracing them as they trembled and wept lifting them up in prayer.

Jane said, “What is of utmost importance to understand in our story is during deeply traumatic times, it was the over-riding blessings, being touched by something so great and outside of ourselves, the continuous encompassing demonstration of unconditional love by those in Feed The Need Missions that fed, encouraged and elevated our spirits. “Truly, the Feed the Need volunteers were the ‘outstretched hands and feet of Christ.’ They loved without question, served without hesitation and prayed in the face of obvious improbability.”


Help us be prepared for the unthinkable today.

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? Since 2011 Feed the Need Missions has served communities hit with devastating floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes with a hot meal, listening ear, and encouragement.

Can you help us be prepared to respond to the next disaster and make a donation today? Your gift of $10, $25, or $50 will help us respond quicker and serve more people when disaster strikes.

While we never hope for a disaster, we know your support will help us be even more prepared to respond when disaster does come our way.


Feed the Need Missions has been providing disaster relief since 2011. To date we have responded to 17 disasters and have served many communities near and far that have been devastated by floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes. We do this with a hot meal, listening ear, and encouragement.

Check out this video from Jonah Beyer, Feed the Need Missions’ President, and learn a little more about our heart for disaster preparedness. While you do, we hope you consider partnering with us by making a donation today so we can reach as many people as possible during these urgent times of need.


Help us be prepared for the unthinkable today.

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? Since 2011 Feed the Need Missions has served communities hit with devastating floods, tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes with a hot meal, listening ear, and encouragement.

Can you help us be prepared to respond to the next disaster and make a donation today? Your gift of $10, $25, or $50 will help us respond quicker and serve more people when disaster strikes.

While we never hope for a disaster, we know your support will help us be even more prepared to respond when disaster does come our way.