On September 2, the GMA announced the mobilization of Project Restore, the gospel music industry’s official crisis response vehicle, to engage in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The GMA, through Project Restore, will partner with Atlanta-based Gospel Music Channel (GMC) for a multi-network (including confirmed PAX TV), nationally televised benefit concert on Thursday, Sept. 22. The live event will be held at the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. It will air live on GMC from 7-10 p.m. ET/6-9 p.m. CT and live on PAX TV from 8-10 p.m. ET and CT (repeat for PT). More details about this event will be announced next week.
Additionally, Project Restore’s Web site, www.ProjectRestore.org, will serve as the industry’s unified communication channel for raising awareness of how the gospel music community and its fans are and can be involved in hurricane relief, including encouraging financial donations to Project Restore’s partner World Vision (www.worldvision.org) and other agencies which are directly providing disaster relief for the affected areas (www.fema.gov).
“The scope of the tragedy in the Gulf Coast is unimaginable and grows more desperate every day. To see this sort of tragedy happening in our own country is especially difficult, but we must view this as an opportunity to rally the GMA community to offer our prayers and resources as a reflection of the grace and goodness of the Gospel,” said GMA President John W. Styll. “As citizens of this country and as followers of Christ, we must help to bring restoration to the people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina.”
As plans for the Atlanta benefit concert are underway, World Vision and several individual artists have already responded. World Vision has begun shipping emergency supplies and other essential items to children and families devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Truckloads of supplies from World Vision sites in Dallas, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, and Denver are being sent to stricken areas. The goods will be distributed through a network of local churches, faith-based organizations and other partners such as the American Red Cross.
Many in the gospel music community themselves are doing what they can to offer immediate help to the Gulf Coast region. Included among those are artists who reside in the affected areas and have been personally impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The information about individual efforts that has been reported to the GMA is included in the left column here in GMAil. That information will be updated regularly at ProjectRestore.org.
Also, GMA and Project Restore will provide regular updates on industry and artist response. Anyone with additional information may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are not surprised by the immediate rush of activity from our artist community. Their individual efforts will make a great difference in many lives. In addition to their efforts and Project Restore’s industry-wide efforts, we would ask that every person in this music community join in prayer for city, state and federal leaders and agencies and for every individual affected by Hurricane Katrina. When the voices of God’s people are raised in prayer, amazing things will happen,” said Styll.
Specifically, Styll reported several prayer requests directly related to the gospel music industry:
• Mobile, Ala.-based Integrity Music Group and Jackson, Miss.-based Malaco Records both survived Hurricane Katrina without major damage. Both offices report being open for business, but many of the staff at each of the companies are dealing with the difficult task of clean-up and recovery at their own homes.
• Integrity/Vertical worship artist Jason Morant is a resident of New Orleans. He and his wife evacuated to Nashville before Hurricane Katrina hit their hometown, but they did lose their house and their band equipment. But rather than focus on his own loss, Jason has been drawing attention to the serious devastation faced by Slidell, La., where his sister lives and where her church, Joy Fellowship, is trying to establish a refugee housing center. Today, led by Jason’s manager Jay Hall of Maxx Technology and assisted by Rocketown Records and World Vision, a truck and a caravan of 11 industry volunteers will leave Franklin, Tenn. filled with relief supplies for the church. They plan to make another trip next week.
• New Orleans’ own Desire Street Ministries was founded by independent recording artist Mo Leverett. It’s based in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and serving the poor is its sole focus. As efforts focus on disaster response and relief, Desire Street Ministries will be there, continuing its good work in this neighborhood. And when its time to rebuild and rehabilitate, Desire Street Ministries will be there.
• Word Records’ and American Idol finalist George Huff is characteristically still smiling through the bitter affects of Hurricane Katrina, which he is sure, has destroyed his family’s New Orleans home. He comes from a huge extended family and when news of the storm hit, everyone just scattered. The 24-year-old Huff, who lived with his mother and siblings in New Orleans, says that he and 14 of his relatives left New Orleans over the weekend and are now staying at his brother’s house in Dallas.
• The McRaes, a new sister duo on Daywind Records, is currently on tour with The Crabb Family. They reside in Waynesboro, Miss. Their home is ok, but their town is without power and much has been devastated and the sisters cannot get home. At a concert in Georgia last night, The Crabb Family took up an offering for The McRaes and raised more than $3,000.
Find the Christian Activities comprehensive list of Relief Organizations at: RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS
Read my Katrina blog at Hurrican Katrina Hits Close to Home
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