VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Those ravaged by Hurricane Ida are still reeling from the aftermath of the storm.
Many businesses and homes are destroyed, and residents are trying to get their hands on much-needed items.
"When you see devastation like [that], you can't help but be moved with compassion,” Steve Swisher said.
Swisher is the pastor of Essential Church. The church is already gathering up supplies to send to those in Louisiana who have been impacted by Hurricane Ida.
Swisher said they reached out to a family originally from St. Charles Parish, La., that lived in Hampton Roads.
"It's damaged homes, businesses, and they need supplies; they need help,” Swisher said. “Things like water, canned meat is a big need right now. Tarps, cleaning supplies, fans, work gloves, trash bags."
They have bags of food and items, including fans and air conditioners. The church is asking the community to help and donate whatever they can.
"Whenever disaster happens - and you never know where it's going to happen - you always have to put yourself in a position of, 'What if that were me?'" Swisher said. “It's one thing to think, 'I don't know if I can help; I don't know if I can really be a part of this.' Empathy happens when you put yourself in that situation."
Their goal is to fill a 26-ft. box truck with those items.
Filling trucks for relief efforts is nothing new to Essential Church. They did the same thing after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
"We believe you love God by loving people, and that's about not just with words, but by taking action,” Swisher said. "This is a life source for them. This is help at a time of their greatest desperation."
The church will host a drive-thru donation drop-off on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested in donating can drive by the church and simply drop off their donations.
Some items they are looking for include:
- Water bottles
- Tarps all sizes
- Flashlights w/batteries
- Contractor bags
- Extension cords
- Feminine products
- Work Gloves
- Canned meat products
- Manual can openers
- Batteries (all sizes)
- Baby wipes
- Bug spray
Essential Church is located at 4020 Ware Neck Dr. in Virginia Beach.