Ministers’ Conference seeking more volunteers for return trip to Houston

Ministers’ Conference seeking more volunteers for return trip to Houston
November 09
03:22 2017

In late September, volunteers from Winston-Salem headed down to the Houston area on a mission trip to assist in the recovery of the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  On the first day of December, another round of volunteers will head back to Houston to continue the relief efforts for what they call “Project Rebuild Houston.” 

The trip is once again a collaborative effort of the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, led by Rev. Dr. Lamonte Williams; the city of Winston-Salem; Mayor Allen Joines; Love Out Loud; and Wake Forest Baptist Health.

During the first trip to Houston, the volunteers met an elderly woman named Mrs. Whitfield who showed tremendous strength and faith even though she lost most of her possessions in the flood.  Her resolve was so impactful, on the return trip home a decision was made to go back to Houston to help her rebuild.

“On the return trip we had everyone speak about why they came on the trip and secondly what they learned,” said Williams.  “From those two questions everyone had a unanimous theme, that they were glad they went to give a positive impact on the citizens there but what we found was that it equally impacted the volunteers.”

“There was still this unresolved feeling because the group felt that they wanted to return to Houston to do a project to bring closure to the efforts we went there to do,” he continued.  “We got the chance to meet Mrs. Whitfield and her story was more resounding than the rest. The group felt like we needed to go back and adopt her.”

According to Williams, Whitfield had been in that home for 70 years and had raised 10 kids while living there.  She told them this is the first year her family would not be in that home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

Whitfield told Williams when the home was built, she was told that it was not in a flood zone, therefore she did not buy flood insurance.  Following the flood, she was subsequently denied aid from FEMA as well, which further increased the need to help her from the volunteers.

“Seeing all of those damaged items that had to be thrown away, the group felt like it was warranted to go back and help her by raising funds to provide her with sheetrock, insulation, basic wiring and things to that nature,” Williams said.  “I raised a motion on the bus and there was not one hand in opposition.”

Along with helping Whitfield, the volunteers will also help with the rebuild of a dilapidated property for a single mother of four to move into since her former domicile was ruined during the hurricane.

Williams has connected with the church pastor he initially met with during the first trip and they will have a place to stay for free.  Currently they are looking for 20-25 more volunteers to fill the bus that will travel to Houston on Dec. 1.  For more information on the trip or to volunteer, visit  The trip is free for all volunteers.

The group has secured a donation from the Home Depot and Lowes for building materials and is working on the logistics to have those donations transferred to the Houston location in order to save on transportation costs.

The daughter of Mrs. Whitfield, Roberta, was very thankful for the assistance of the volunteers.  She says this is a more than what she could have ever dreamed of.

“This is such a godsend to my mother, and she was elated when I gave her the news,” Roberta said.  “As far as my mom goes, to know her is to love her.  She is an awesome person and I am fortunate and blessed to have a mother like her.  She just loves people and she knows this was God’s doing.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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