Our History of Disaster Support
Reach Out America
For those moments when unthinkable tragedy happens, we are there.
It all started when…
Reach Out America was founded in 1995 by Larry Williamson. James Kilgore and Fred Foster joined the Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Organization immediately.
Since then, Reach Out America has become a National VOAD Member, involved in Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid over the past two decades. We have invested in excess of $50 million of services, gifts and in-kind donations and volunteer hours given to disasters.
2017 Major Highlights
August – Hurricane Harvey – Houston, STX/TX District UPCI
September – Hurricane Irma – Miami, Fl District UPCI
September – Hurricane Maria – Puerto Rico – UPCI
October – State Fires – Santa Rosa, CA
Texas Gulf Coast VOAD Member ▪ State of Texas VOAD Member ▪ National VOAD Advocacy Committee Member ▪ National VOAD International Committee Member.
Reach Out America has been asked to join as a member of National VOAD in Washington, D.C. because of our longtime nationwide involvement in Disaster Relief. National VOAD is a very powerful coalition of the largest nonprofits in the U.S. involved in Disaster Relief Efforts, "invitation only". FEMA, Salvation Army and Red Cross have all offered to assist ROA in continuing to build Disaster Relief Programs across the U.S. with our churches. Recent comments from FEMA officials complimented our Outstanding Nationwide Disaster Relief efforts. They offer training programs and online courses as well as assistance with Conference Displays, etc.
"Men's’ Wearhouse" has been a longtime supporter of our Outreach Programs for four years donating more than $2,000,000. of new men’s apparel to our Disaster Relief Outreach and "WarZone Heroes" Veterans Program. "Palais Royal" and "Stage Stores" have recently began partnering with ROA with hundreds of new women’s and children’s new high quality apparel and $2,500. of clothing racks.
Special Counsel in Mexico to DIF and Federal and State governments in U.S. Nonprofit relationships. Mexico and Central America Counsel in "Cross Border" Customs Needs. Registered with U.S. Consulates in Mexico and Central America for Special Needs Visas and Immigrant Concerns.
*Note: The majority of the many hundreds of thousands of pounds of Humanitarian Aid and Church Programs Assistance is not listed.
TIMELINE OF ACTIVITIES:
1995 – Monterrey, Mexico,
Peso Devaluation. In the formative stages of Reach Out America, Rev. Fred Foster of West Monroe, Louisiana UPC and Rev. James Kilgore of Houston, Texas UPC appointed Larry Williamson to start a Bible School in Monterrey, Mexico and provided funding. In December of 1994, the peso was drastically devalued causing a tremendous hardship among the students. Reach Out America was birthed in the midst of this disaster in Monterrey in 1995. Outreach was made to department stores in Houston for donations of apparel for the students and teachers. New Suits, shirts, dresses and household items were donated by stores like T.J. Max, J.C. Penney and Sears. In 1996, the AT&T Trademark Attorney sent a letter on AT&T letterhead authorizing Larry Williamson to use in his ministry the very powerful "trademarked slogan...Reach Out America", known worldwide as part of their program, "Reach Out And Touch Someone".
Thus began the organization of Reach Out America as a "Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Organization" by Larry Williamson, Rev. James Kilgore and Rev. Fred Foster.
Two decades later and approximately $33. Million of assistance to those in need worldwide, Reach Out America continues in "Community Involvement, Outreach and Evangelism in a very strong ministry into our communities nationwide.
1996 – Hurricane Paulina, Mexico.
In a special outreach of ROA/Life Tabernacle, joined with the Mexican Consulate in Houston in organizing Disaster Relief totaling three 53’ trailers of food. In conjunction with local media, organized citywide collection of donations for thousands of families and coordinated volunteer distribution with the Mexican Government and the Mexican Red Cross in Mexico City.
1998-1999 – Honduras/Hurricane Mitch Disaster Relief.
In collaboration with Pastor James Kilgore of Life Tabernacle in Houston and Rev. Danny Smith of the UPC, Executive Vice President of "Friends of the Americas and the Wife of the President of Honduras in a 2 year nationwide effort. ROA delivered $2 Million humanitarian aid assistance. Needs Assessment nationwide with local doctors, other local agencies and government officials. Total program facilitation, implementation and volunteer coordination. Missionary Brad Schreckhise received and distributed a 40' container of food and other assistance.
2001 – El Salvador/EarthQuake Disaster Relief.
Reach Out America joined with Pastor James Kilgore of Life Tabernacle UPC, for procurement and shipping of goods; solicited donations from national organizations; assisted with medications from Walgreens in the "Medical Missions Program" operated by Rev. Scotty Slaydon which also included a soup kitchen and a children’s activities program. Joined with Rev. Slaydon in viewing the results of the earthquake and handed out financial assistance from Life Tabernacle of Houston directly to families and others.
2002 – Houston, Texas/Tropical Storm Allison Disaster Relief.
Life Tabernacle, pastored by Rev. James Kilgore and Reach Out America led a massive Disaster Relief effort after the enormous devastation caused by Tropical Storm Allison in Houston. Invited by FEMA to become a member of Houston’s "Long Term Recovery Task Force" and later asked to be part of the FEMA led "Major Donors Committee" which included Houston City and Harris County officials, United Way, Salvation Army and Red Cross. Our "Missing Persons Program" which was developed to assist displaced family members was quickly adopted by the local media who requested our staff to relocate at a local television station. Reach Out America and Life Tabernacle UPCI volunteers coordinated this massive effort.
2004 – Piedras Negras, Mexico/Flooding.
Reach Out America and Life Tabernacle, pastored by Rev. James Kilgore of Houston, Texas provided 80,000 lbs. of Disaster Relief after flash flooding at the Mexico/US border in the city of Piedras Negras in coordination with the Mexican Consular General in Houston, Texas. ROA led volunteers in a citywide disaster relief effort partnering with the Mexican Consulate, local television and radio stations, city officials and religious organizations. Managed Media relationships with television, newspaper and radio reporters in intense television and newspaper media coverage of all stages.
2006 - 2007 – Louisiana/Hurricane Katrina.
Disaster Response in New Orleans as an outreach of ROA and Rev. James Kilgore, pastor of Life Tabernacle of Houston. Developed, obtained $2. Million funding and instituted a two year program of rebuilding almost 100 homes. Coordinated volunteer groups for cleanup and mold removal. Supplied 53; trailers of building products valued at almost $1 million to other agencies. Participated in planning sessions with city groups and officials as member of the Governor's Unmet Needs Committee. Organized volunteer efforts in distributing 40,000 lbs. of donated food, $100,000. new Simonton Windows and 40,000 gallons of paint.
2007 – West Virginia/ROA Outreach.
Consultant and Project Start-up Manager to Eastern West Virginia Community Action on behalf of Governor Manchin’s Office of Economic Opportunity. Obtained 42,000 lbs. of canned good for a City Wide effort. Procured $60,000. of Fire/Smoke Detectors for a State Awareness program of Governor Manchin. EWVCA Director Comments: "You took a concept and literally pocket change and turned it into a viable program in fifteen months." Most Appreciated Compliment: "Passion For Your Work Is What Has Made You So Successful." Partnered with Rev. Ed Harper, UPCI of West Virginia.
2008 - 2010 – Mexico.
Initiated International Collaborative agreements in Nuevo Leon, Mexico for producing Developmental Aid Programs. Procured and distributed more than $1 Million in Medical Equipment for the hospitals and Department of Health of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Consultant to state officials in a relief program in Nuevo Leon, Mexico in collaboration with the Governor’s program, "United Nuevo Leon."
2010 – Dallas, Texas/Senior Citizens Assistance:
Supplied local congregations with food and other products for their programs. Organized a Senior Citizens Program utilizing $275,000. of Electric Wheelchairs, Electric Mobility Scooter and Walkers. This program counseled with senior citizens about their needs and after careful evaluation, distributed these and other products to make their lives more productive.
2010 – Haiti/Disaster Relief and Recovery Project
Coordinated Humanitarian Aid for the ROA Haiti Effort. Supported by Pastor D.G. Hargrove, North Cities UPCI of Garland, Texas. Supplied three 53’ trailers of Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid assistance including Sleeping Bags, Tents, Rolling Duffel Bags and Croc Shoes. ROA partnered with the University of Miami Medical Center and hundreds of volunteers from across the nation. Robert Armstrong Secretary/Treasurer of ROA and founder and Director of "Medical Missions of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center" organized meetings with Haiti’s National Director and other Health organizations in Houston for continued support in Haiti. Ongoing discussions with International Rotary Club.
2011 - North Mississippi/Tornado Disaster Relief.
UPCI Pastor Stan Blaylock of North Mississippi and area churches stored and managed distribution of a ROA 53’ trailer of disaster relief donations. Pastor D.G. Hargrove and North Cities UPCI of Garland, Texas funded this effort.
2011 - Joplin, Missouri/Tornado Disaster Relief.
Two 53’ trailers of Reach Out America donations, 72,000 bs., were stored and distributed by the UPCI church in Joplin. Missouri including Cleaning Supplies, Water Coolers, Food, Household Items, etc. Donations were stored at the church and volunteers led the pastor sorted and distributed throughout the city to the victims of the tornado.
2011 – Alabama/Disaster Relief.
Four trailers of Disaster Relief were distributed by volunteers from our UPCI churches, United Way personnel and prisoners of a local jail. Area organizations assisted with storage and distribution.
2011 - Austin, Texas (Bastrop)/Wildfires Disaster Relief.
Coordinated volunteer programs in the aftermath of devastating fires in major portions of the state. Procured 100,000 lbs. of donations and coordinated volunteer distribution in affected areas. Organized UPCI church leaders and volunteers in a coordinated effort with VOAD membership in the Austin area. A special outreach of the South Texas District UPCI and Reach Out America.
2012 – Dallas, Texas/Tornado Disaster Relief.
Collaborated with State of Texas VOAD members in staging and distributing 18 tons of Disaster Relief donations including Cleaning Supplies, Water Coolers, Tools and Water. Consulted with VOAD officials for continued assistance at Tiger Stadium in Dallas.
2012 - South Mississippi/Hurricane Isaac Disaster Relief.
Joined with the City of Gulfport in their Operations Center in Gulfport at the Harrison County Courthouse. Joined in Disaster Relief planning in the FEMA and VOAD meetings. Reach Out America donated 35,000 lbs. of disaster relief assistance. Coordinated volunteer distribution efforts with State of Mississippi VOAD. Coordinated efforts with Rev. Nations of OSI UPCI located in Canton, Mississippi.
2012 - New York City/New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief
Massive disaster relief effort by Reach Out America of the South Texas District UPCI and OSI led by Rev. Ronald Nations of the Mississippi District UPCI. Joined with our UPCI District officials and area UPCI churches in New York City and New Jersey in donating and distributing many tons of new merchandise to those affected by the disaster. Rev. Dawson and Rev. Andrade of NYC personally assisted in coordinating this effort in the rain and cold with volunteers from area UPCI churches. An awesome success. Approximately $5,000 offering from North Cities in Garland, Texas, $5,000. from OSI of the Mississippi District UPCI and thousands of dollars from the South Texas District made possible the outreach to thousands of families in the NYC/NJ areas. ROA managed Transportation Logistics for FEMA in the 150,000' New Jersey warehouse and New York City 200,000' warehouse. A great experience driving a 26' bobtail in NYC. Collaborated with Feed The Children and Lowes. A total of four 53’ trailers with more than 125,000 lbs of Disaster Relief and Food Supplies were distributed by our New York City Metro and New Jersey UPCI churches.
2013 – Hattiesburg, Miss./Tornado Disaster Relief.
Partnered with OSI of the Mississippi UPCI and Rev. Nations in Disaster Relief. Onsite "Needs Assessment" in Hattiesburg and activated the ROA led Disaster Relief Coalition for the Gulf Coast area. One trailer of Cleaning Supplies and Household Items were distributed by UPCI churches.
2013 – Moore, Oklahoma/Tornadoes Disaster Relief.
Our relief efforts began with the distribution of a 53’ trailer of donations to the Shawnee area. Conferred with UPCI Presbyter in Moore, Oklahoma area about our program. ROA partnered with Feed The Children in the distribution of an additional 75,000 lbs. of food and other items joining with The Rescue Mission of Shawnee, Oklahoma. Also, we organized distribution of approximately $200,000. of new men’s apparel from "Men’s Wearhouse" including 500 mens’ suits, 800 shirts and 200 pair of shoes, all new.
2013 – Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico/Flooding/Disaster Relief.
ROA responded to a request by officials of State of Texas Emergency Management to assist with relief efforts in the aftermath of flooding. A total of 50,000 homes were flooded on both sides of the border. Extensive needs assessment, cross border documentation and distribution preparations resulted in a smooth disaster relief operation on both sides of the border. Operation logistics: Fifteen vehicles crossing into the U.S. from Mexico and returning with donations, management of more than 75 volunteers and collaboration with officials on both sides of the border, organized distribution of 35,000 lbs. of donations from Convoy of Hope, organized all logistics of distribution and volunteer management.
2013 - Austin, Texas/Flooding Disaster Relief.
In a ROA/South Texas District UPCI Outreach, donated and distributed to victims of the Flood Disaster in Austin in collaboration with FEMA, Community Organizations, VOAD and Red Cross, approximately 100,000 lbs. of disaster relief. UPCI churches across the state volunteered in this massive effort.
2014 – Edinburg, Texas/Humanitarian Aid.
Distributed Food for 400 Families. Joined with the UPCI church in Edinburgh of South Texas District, Feed The Children and other local agencies. Assisted in coordinating more than 100 volunteers working with more than 1,000 people in Texas and Mexico. No cost to the church for this City Wide Outreach.
2014 – Greater Dallas Texas Coalition/Humanitarian Aid.
Major supplier of Humanitarian Aid to 25 churches and organizations. Four truckloads first six months this year totaling approximately 160,000 lbs.
2014 – North Mississippi/Tornado Disaster Relief.
Rev. Danny Robbins, pastor Cedar Grove UPCI in Tupelo, Mississippi partnered with ROA/South Texas District by receiving and distributing a 53' trailer of disaster relief donations.
2015/2016 -- Garland, Texas/Tornado Disaster Relief Response.
ROA/STXD UPCI operated "The Food Court" providing food to thousands of hungry people over a two week period. Salvation Army, Starbucks, Applebee’s Restaurant, Central Market, and Wich Wich Sandwiches and other organizations assisted with food donations and hot meals. Pastor D.G. Hargrove of North Cities Church UPCI and Presbyter in the North Texas District joined with ROA/South Texas District in providing food, operations assistance and funding. Operation Blessing and State of Texas VOAD provided a large number of volunteers for serving thousands of meals.
2016 - West Monroe, Louisiana/Flooding Disaster Relief.
ROA/South Texas District UPCI partnered with Rev. Cox, Louisiana District UPCI Superintendent coordinated by his representative Rev. Mark Foster and his church, "The Pentecostals" in a relief effort of two 53' trailers of assistance. Massive City Wide Community Outreach.
2016 - Orange, Texas/Flooding Disaster Relief.
Partnered with ROA/South Texas District UPCI and Texas District UPCI, Rev. Prince, in delivering a 53' trailer of assistance. Bro. Wheeler's staff reported their Community Outreach resulted in contacts of 400 families.
2016 – Deweyville, Texas/Flooding Disaster Relief.
Partnered with ROA/South Texas District and Texas District UPCI, Rev. Prince Superintendent who helped unload the disaster relief items. Pastor Orange and his son, Pastor Mark Orange drove a 26' bobtail trucks around the city meeting people and distributing relief goods to them.
2016 – Houston, Texas/Flooding Disaster Relief.
FEMA, the City of Houston, Salvation Army, VOAD, the Food Bank and other organizations are partnering with Reach Out America and the South Texas District UPCI in a massive Disaster Relief effort at our Headquarters and Warehouses at Greenspoint Mall. Fifty FEMA officials, sixty City of Houston officials and many Metro area churches and organizations have joined us in our efforts in supplying more than 500,000lbs of disaster relief assistance. Pastor and Presbyter David Fauss of Bethel UPCI in North Houston has been a vital part of the success of the Disaster Relief Programs. Volunteer members from Bethel have distributed thousands of pounds of assistance to victims of the flooding over a period of weeks. One important aspect of the ROA/STX District Disaster Relief Outreach has been our participation in Conference Calls with State of Texas VOAD and National Voad officials including FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army and others.
An inventory of Disaster Relief Supplies in our 20,000’ of warehouse space and 7,000 Event Center includes seven 53’ trailers of Disaster Relief donations. These include Water, Food, Cleaning Supplies, Household Items and five hundred 5 gallon Water Coolers. Also, 350 New Men’s Suits, 1,000 New Shirts and 300 Pair of Men’s Shoes. A new $200,000 shipment of Men’s Apparel will be arriving this week. In addition we have hundreds of new dresses for women and girls from Palais Royal/Stage Stores.
2017 ROA Timeline of DR Events
(1) January 6 - Garland, Texas - Tornado
The ROA/STX "Food Court" fed literally thousands over 16 days at the Granger Recreation Center. Partners included: South Texas District, North Cities
UPCI, Operation Blessings, City of Garland, Samaritan's' Purse, Salvation Army, Applebee's Restaurant, Starbucks, Central Market and many area volunteers.
DR Operations Details Outreach to more than 4,000 people:
Volunteers Value ($42,875)) - Approximate 16 day total of 350 volunteers averaging 5 hours each at $24.50 hourly.
Meals Value ($24,000)
Total Project Value ($66,875)
(2) March 18 - West Monroe, Louisiana - Flooding
Delivered two 53' trailers of Disaster Relief Donations to "The Pentecostals of West Monroe", Pastor Mark Foster. Assisted in Distribution. Hundreds of families
were reached by "The Pentecostals", Pastor Mark Foster.
Volunteers Value ($ ) Submitted by Rev. Mark Foster. Approximate ___ day total of ___ volunteers averaging 5 hours each at $24.50 hourly.
Value of Two 53' trailers of Disaster Relief Donations - ($75,000). Waiting on exact amount from Convoy of Hope.
(3) March 20 - Deweyville/Orange, Texas - Flooding
Delivered a 53' trailer of Disaster Relief donations to Pastor Gary Wheeler of Orange, Texas. The First UPCI of Orange mounted a tremendous outreach
to the many families in the flooded areas nearby.
Volunteers Value ($ ) Approximate ___ day total of ___ volunteers averaging 5 hours each at $24.50 hourly.
(4) April 20 - Houston, Texas - Flooding #1.
Reach Out America/South Texas District UPCI headquarters at Greenspoint Mall in Houston quickly became one of the largest Disaster Relief
Distribution Centers due to the location in the midst of major flooding areas. We operated as a DR Central Supply for receiving and distributing donations from/to Feed The Children, Convoy of Hope, Salvation Army, Samaritans Purse, The Adventists, The Food Bank, City of Houston and many local churches. Special thanks to Bethel Temple, Pastor David Fauss of North Houston for leading ROA/STX Disaster Relief Outreach. Their "long term recovery" outreach continues. The U.S. Army, The Navy and The Air Force supplied many hours of loading and unloading trailers of donations, often in the rain.
A. ROA/STX stored hundreds of thousands of pounds of DR donations in our almost 20,000' of warehouse space beginning with existing disaster relief kits and 5 gallon water coolers from Feed The Children.
B. Trailers of water from The Salvation Army and Convoy of Hope, Trailer of food from the Food Bank, Clean-up kits from the City of Houston, Clothes and donations from the Adventists.
Volunteers Value ($22,050) Approximate 8 day total of 225 volunteers averaging 4 hours each at $24.50 hourly.
(5) June 4 - Houston, Texas Metro - Flooding #2
Approximate 16 day total of 250 volunteers averaging 5 hours each at $24.50 hourly.
(6) July 1 - West Virginia - Flooding