With a little help from friends …

With a little help from friends …

Hundreds of thousands of dollars, and about as many man-hours, have been gifted through Beaumont’s Cathedral Church to help rebuild the community after Tropical Storm/Hurricane Harvey devastated the region – a full-time job for many, even as congregation members and volunteers themselves struggled to recover from flooded homes and destroyed property. 

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, though, as the group’s dedication to the community they live in and serve was honored when the “Today Show with Al Roker” invited the church family to attend their Spring, Texas, stop on Tuesday, Nov. 14, with a few surprises in store for the attendees.

“They blessed our church along with a couple other churches in Houston,” Cathedral Pastor Randy Feldschau said upon his return from the Spring taping of the “Today Show,” hosted at the Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in the northern Houston area. Feldschau had caravanned two bus-loads of about 60 people, representing 36 families, to the Spring taping. They returned packed to the max with items given to them via a pop-up on-site Lowe’s store as well as $100,000 in Lowe’s gift cards.

Trinity Lutheran pastor Chris Singer told the “Today Show” that they, too, have made a full-time job of helping their community.

“We’re not at that point where we’re able to say, ‘We can’t help anymore,’ and so every opportunity we get to be able to be empowered to help other people, we’ve chosen at this moment to say, ‘We’re gonna continue doing that,”’ Singer said.

The Houston area minister said hundreds of people have volunteered to assist in their mission; some are members of the church, others just want to be a part of something good for the community. “We’ve had neighbors come over and ask, ‘How can we help?’” Singer explained.

Singer said that money and supplies are great – and much needed – but so is manpower. Feldschau agrees.

“Right now, we need two things: volunteers and finances,” the Cathedral pastor noted. At one time, the church was hosting up to 150 volunteers every week. Now, that number has dwindled to a faithful few.

“The news cycle has shifted,” Feldschau dismayed. With all the despair and depravity in the world, attention is quickly jarred from one tragedy to the next. But the devastation lingers. Currently, Cathedral volunteers are working on recovery and rebuilding.

“It’s a process,” he said. “That’s why it takes so long.”

With flood damage, the recovery process is long, the now veteran “home-mucker” lamented. To tear out several feet of sheetrock in every room of a house is no easy or quick task – and it is often topped off by other problems once the first layer is stripped.

“Many of the homes we’re helping in are older homes,” Feldschau said, “and we may take off the sheetrock and find there’s termite damage, or a rotten support. Then, we have to fix that too before we can move on to the next thing.” Then there’s the dry-out time. The permitting process. Then re-erecting.

“We will be here probably until the spring of 2019 trying to rebuild.”

Each home will cost the nonprofit about $15,000 in hard costs, not including donated supplies and labor that amounts to a doubling of that number. Sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, flooring …

“We’ve got a lot of local contractors on board,” so that is defraying some of the cost, the pastor explained. “Because of all the help we’re getting, we’re getting these things at a cheaper rate – but there is some cost.”

And there’s always a need for more manpower.

“We need more volunteers,” Feldschau reiterated. “With all the other things going on in the nation, volunteers are spread thin. But, we still have a lot of work here to do. We think we can get the support; we just need some volunteers to keep this going.”

Registration for those who want to help in the group’s mission is open for all on-site in the church’s parking lot/staging area, 2350 Eastex Freeway, Beaumont. For more information or to register to volunteer, contact Cathedral at (409) 892-8475.