Panama City, FL (October 15, 2018) – On most days you’ll find John “ZZ” Gavrun and John “Animal” Kirchens riding their motorcycles, preaching the gospel of Jesus throughout Panama City.
They’re both members of Faith Riders, a local motorcycle ministry; but on this day, the pair was riding in Gavrun’s car, its roof barely intact from the effects of Hurricane Michael which devastated the area less than a week ago.
Today’s mission was to find a hot meal to keep them and their families going. “We lived through it, watched it come in, watched the trees come crashing down all around us. It was devastating,” says Gavrun. He had seen hurricanes before, never heeding the call to leave and Michael was no different.
“I’ve sat through several Cat 1’s and 2’s over the years and we thought this would be a 3, something we could handle like the others,” says Gavrun. “But it came in almost as a Cat 5 and it destroyed everything.”
At the Saint Andrew Baptist Church where their motorcycle ministry was born, The Salvation Army mobile feeding unit is a welcome site as crew members provide hot food, cold water, and hope. “It’s a blessing to have The Salvation Army here providing this help, it’s a blessing for everyone.”
His friend John Kirchens credits his strong faith as what carries him through all of this. “I’ve been able to cope with disaster because I have Christ in my heart and he’s helping me deal with this,” he says. “To have The Salvation Army here is a blessing because they’re preaching God’s love through feeding and it’s wonderful.”
Kirchens shares an uplifting message with everyone he comes across. “I’m telling people not to lose hope because they’re still alive. Houses, cars and things can all be replaced but your life cannot. Keep Jesus in your heart and you won’t go through this alone.”
To make a financial gift to support Hurricane Michael relief efforts:
- Donate by phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
- Donate by mail: The Salvation Army, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301
- Please designate ‘2018 Hurricane Season – Michael’ on all checks
- Donate online: www.HelpSalvationArmy.org
- Donate by text: Text STORM to 51555 to receive a donation link for easy mobile giving
- The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900.
- In times of disaster, we serve the whole person – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- After immediate needs are met, The Salvation Army will remain and continue to partner with impacted communities to rebuild. Rebuilding communities takes time and partnership, and we will be there as long as it takes.
- The Salvation Army is there before, during, and after the storm.
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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.