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Christians in hurricane-battered Florida reach out to a people group that is suffering in silence.

By September 13, 2004

USA (MNN)–Florida’s hurricane damages could exceed ten billion dollars once the initial assessments are finished.

Rebuilding efforts and a national sympathy has brought out thousands of volunteer teams and monies to start the cleanup.

However, with all the stories focusing on the Floridians who survived the summer of 2004, there is another group not among the pictures of long lines at relief stations.

Operation Blessing International’s President and CEO Bill Horan says they are trying to help a group in the area that is ‘suffering in silence’. “In Florida, particularly in the area where both these hurricanes hit, once you get away from the coast, there’s a very high population of agricultural workers, that oftentimes don’t speak English, in many cases, don’t have proper documentation, and these folks are very reluctant to show up and ask for help from conventional sources like FEMA.”

Horan says because of the distrust of government agencies, migrant workers have turned to ministries. That’s where OBI’s support turns to outreach. “A lot of them have gravitated towards the churches, and the churches in those areas welcome them with open arms, but in many cases, the churches themselves have had physical damage. So, again, by helping those churches, we’re helping those people that don’t really have any advocates.”

The relief work in the days ahead will be much like that in the weeks after Hurricane Charley, when Operation Blessing gave out more than 2.4 million pounds of food and other emergency materials across the state.

Through its network of local faith-based groups and teams, Operation Blessing is quickly able to supply disaster victims with the clothing, food, water and other basics.

Go to: http://www.ob.org if you’d like to help.

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