Local church group heading to Florida Keys with critical supplies after Irma

FEMA: "Their efforts are greatly appreciated."
Posted at 2:43 PM, Sep 27, 2017

A box-truck loaded with essentials is on its way to the Florida Keys. "We've been collecting supplies here at the church," The Crossing Church Paster Michael Pippin said. 

His congregation gathered the items over the weekend. "We can't save the Keys, but we can do what we do," Pippin said. 

The Florida Keys, as our Now Tampa Bay crews saw first-hand, was devastated by Hurricane Irma. 

Pastor Pippin reached a pastor in the Keys through Twitter. It's the only way they could initially get in touch. "He was able to give me a call and let me know they were basically out of everything," Pippin said. 

Pippin, having helped after Hurricane Katrina, knew exactly what to do. He put out a call for supplies and a team willing to say in the Keys. 

"We look for those opportunities and let them pour their heart out and pray for them," Pippin said. "The work is just daunting. So, it really takes a team of men diving in, whole-heartedly, to help people who can't help themselved." 

The Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is based at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and works with churches each day in the wake of a disaster like Hurricane Irma. 

"FEMA values the hard work of these individuals and organizations in our disaster response and recovery operations. Their efforts are greatly appreciated," Keith St. Clair with FEMA said. 

Pastor Pippin's team will stay in the Keys for 5 days. "There's nothing greater than the chance to serve," he said.