Faith-Based Groups Teach FEMA a Lesson in Providing Natural-Disaster Relief

Faith-Based Groups Teach FEMA a Lesson in Providing Natural-Disaster Relief

Tragedies are always a perfect time for liberals to advance their agenda, and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been no exceptions. This time, the American left has been leaning on two ideological pillars: it’s time to end “climate change denial,” and FEMA’s response proves that government intervention works.

The constant climate-change drumbeat can be easily defeated by listening to actual scientists who have noted that there’s no definitive link between the hurricanes and the left’s favorite pet issue, although that receives scant attention in the corners of the cable dial most likely to report on it (looking at you, CNN).

The FEMA issue is a more difficult one; after all, in times of disaster, it’s hard to get people to understand that disaster response works differently than the free market and that responding to emergencies is one of the appropriate roles of a limited but effective government.

As it turns out, however, we don’t even need to emphasize that. All we need to do is look at the flood relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey and who has pitched in the most money: namely, private, faith-based organizations.

“About 80 percent of all recovery happens because of non-profits, and the majority of them are faith-based,” Greg Forrester, CEO of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, told USA Today. He said those funds are “all raised by the individuals who go and serve, raised through corporate connections, raised through church connections.”

In fact, FEMA tends to be most effective when working with these organizations in the wake of a disaster.

“Right now, in the state of Texas, we are going around with FEMA trying to help them select a facility,” Derek Lee, director of disaster response for Adventist Community Services, an agency of the Seventh Day Adventists church. “It’ll actually be the state’s facility but it’ll be us that helps them manage it. We are going around with them right now trying to help them pick out a facility that will accommodate what the need is going to be on the ground.”

Lee’s group is known for its ability to warehouse and track supplies in the wake of storms like Harvey and Irma. They’re not the only faith-based group that’s known for its specialist services, either. The United Methodist Committee specializes in both cleanup and “case management” — essentially, according to USA Today, helping victims “navigate the maze of FEMA assistance, state aid programs and private insurance to help them rebuild their lives.”

Not that they disparage FEMA or the disaster response, mind you. “FEMA — they have been a big blessing to us, they’re an assistance to us,” said Luther Harrison, vice president of North American Ministries for Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.

“For Hurricane Irma, the majority of our equipment has already been dispatched to Texas … so our office in Canada is bringing their equipment across the border and FEMA was instrumental in helping us clear that with customs and getting all the paperwork done,” Harrison noted.

Yet, here are two of the left’s least favorite entities — private charity and faith-based organizations — doing the bulk of the work in the aftermath of two of the most destructive storms in American history. And it’s far from an aberration. It was that way during Hurricane Katrina and it’ll almost certainly be that way in the future. That’s because these organizations are more efficient, more specialized, and more invested in the recovery than the federal government can ever be.

Sorry, liberals, but yet again, private charity works better than the government. And it doesn’t look like things will be different any time in the foreseeable future, either.

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H/T The Daily Caller