Bayou City Relief a village of recovery

HOUSTON When Hurricane Harvey hit, Bayou City Fellowship (BCF), with campuses in Cypress and Spring Branch, mobilized quickly.

“When the disaster came upon us, very quickly our church [started] getting people out of imminent danger,” said Colleen Henneke, director of Bayou City Relief (BCR), the church’s DR ministry established to respond to Harvey. Then came months of what Henneke called “mucking and gutting,” followed by rebuild.

Bayou City Relief’s efforts are targeting Kashmere Gardens and Houston’s upper Fifth Ward.

“At this point, we still have 100,000 people displaced in Houston. In Kashmere Gardens, 7,400 homes were impacted. Kashmere does not have the resources that other parts of the city do,” Henneke said, noting issues such as deferred maintenance and poverty which have complicated recovery in the distressed area.

“We try to walk out faithfully with the money donated to our church,” Henneke added. “It is a team effort,” she said, expressing gratitude for interns like the SBTC’s Davey Arrowood and the involvement of NAMB in providing long-term volunteers like Gerald and Peggy Colbert from Georgia.

Henneke, in her fifties, walked away from the corporate world in December 2016, convinced she wasn’t serving God where she was. With her background in finance, her church asked her to help with the allocation of funds to Harvey families. 

The job was expected to last till January 2018. Instead, it transitioned into the directorship of what became called Bayou City Relief. 

“It doesn’t look like it’s slowing down,” Henneke told the TEXAN of the Kashmere Gardens rebuild, confirming that around 2,000 volunteers have assisted in BCR recovery and rebuild efforts thus far. “It has taken a village. God has restored relationships, hearts, home and community.”

More help is needed. For additional information or to volunteer, visit bayoucityrelief.com

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