Archive by Author

Suzanne’s Tangled Mess No More

19 September

Last week I got a call from Suzanne. She and her two children, all wheelchair bound, needed our assistance with a ramp and other repairs last year so they could get outside for the first time in years.

She said, “I hated calling you! You already did so much for us! I tried other agencies and even my church. I finally called United Way and they told me to call you! I keep trying to maneuver onto my side on the ground to pull weeds but they are getting ahead of me. They are four feet tall in some places and I can’t mow the lawn.”

Becky immediately mobilized a group of willing volunteers to the home and transformed her lawn into a safe and beautiful yard she and her grown children can enjoy. Suzanne was relieved that the neighbors will not have to look at the tangled mess it was before.

THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who labored that day to make a difference!

-From an e-blast earlier this year (Sign up for our e-blasts at the bottom of our site!)

Hurricane Harvey Response

01 September

In response to the inquiries we have received about our involvement in Hurricane Harvey rebuilding:

Yes, we anticipate helping needy households rebuild in the Houston area in response to widespread property damage and loss due to Hurricane Harvey.  We are prayerfully considering future efforts to act, not as “first responders”, but as “primary charitable rebuilders” after the water has receded and initial recovery efforts are underway.

Hosanna Industries travels to areas of disaster to help with the mobilizing of large groups of volunteers to build and repair homes damaged by tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, or other catastrophic events to bring hope and restoration to hurting individuals and communities.   We’ve worked after multiple disasters, including Hurricanes Andrew, Floyd and Katrina, among others.   In 2005, Hosanna assisted over 500 households with rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Ivan flooded parts of the Pittsburgh region.  We are currently in the midst of rebuilding Richwood, WV, after the 2016 “thousand year flood,” and have helped 32 households so far  this year, implementing the labor efforts of our staff of mission worker, skilled subcontractors, and more than 900 volunteers.

Because of our extensive and varied experience with disaster relief and rebuilding, we see disaster recovery  as a multiple phase process.  These phases, can be described  as follows:

  1. Immediate emergency intervention (rescue, emergency relocation and temporary shelter/food/medical care, etc)
  2. Initial cleanup and utility restoration following the cessation of the initial calamity
  3. Evaluation and strategic community-based consensus building
  4. Actual physical rebuilding/reconstruction/repair
  5. Continuing analysis, evaluation, and long-term recovery problem solving

Our current news media culture often depicts disaster and recovery as happening almost simultaneously or suggesting that this be so, and public expectations sometimes project the same views. In the actual field of disaster recovery, this is not the case, should not be expected to be the case, and in many ways simply cannot be the case tactically and logistically.

It will take some time for the first few phases to be complete, and some funds.  In reality, the most expensive phase is #4, and the immediate fundraising that happens after a natural disaster is often meant for  or used toward the first two phases only.  Unfortunately, our culture has a short attention span and when the time for actual  rebuilding begins, the culture and news media will have moved on to new topics, while Houston is left trying to rebuild, at costs initially estimated to be some $40 billion dollars.

 

Hosanna Industries is requesting a few things:

  1. Prayers for people affected by Hurricane Harvey
  2. Let us know if you were personally affected, or have any connections with agencies in the area that may need help with rebuilding efforts.  We are specifically looking to help under-insured or under-resourced homeowners.  (The Washington Post estimates that 80% of those affected do not have flood insurance.)
  3. Keep us in prayer as we explore the possibilities, come up with a plan, and begin fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and organizational  efforts.

About Hosanna Industries: Hosanna Industries was founded in 1990 as a faith-rooted, non-profit mission whose work involves a variety of charitable initiatives aimed at helping our needy neighbors.  By the grace of God and through the mechanical and aesthetic arts, mission workers at Hosanna Industries build and repair homes for needy households; teach and lead classes and workshops in art, nature and spirituality; and train young people in construction skills.  Since our founding in 1990 Hosanna Industries has provided around $52 million worth of charitable work to the community for around $15 million.  We depend on the generosity of others to complete our work.

 

Hammers Hearts and Hands, June 2017

22 June

One year ago, the little village of Richwood,WV was brutalized by the floodwaters of nature’s storms. This already struggling community, beset with the decades-long decline of coal-mining, lumber-mill slowdowns, economic drift, population loss and systemic depression, found itself suddenly torn apart by the raging torrents of the normally quiet Cherry River when more than 6” of rainfall burst the river from its banks.

Floods take a toll upon a town. The property loss, interruption in utility services, transportation problems, mud, stench, destruction, and disarray are nearly more than a human heart can handle. Moving forward is hard when you can’t see the horizon through the immensity of debris. If one were to try to describe the most manageable aspect of a flood, it would be the water itself in all its ferocious power. The hardest part of a flood is what’s left behind when the water subsides.

Hopelessness is the worst of human ailments because when a person loses hope, it’s hard to see positive potential in a sunrise. When a town loses hope, it’s hard to see tomorrow.

A year ago, we flew into the area on an investigative mission and landed at the closest runway at the Greenbrier Valley Airport, about an hour’s drive from Richwood. Geoff Smathers graciously piloted the Piper Lance aircraft that had been gifted to Hosanna Industries by Norm Carroll just a few years earlier. Mission workers Brian Hetzer, Julie Wettach and Amanda Becker accompanied me as we drove to Richwood to meet with local leaders for the very first time.

As we walked into the makeshift community-center in the heart of town, introductions were given and received, strangers shook hands, and we sat together in a little circle of folding chairs. We prayed. The first words uttered by Hosanna afterward were simply these,“We believe God has led us to your town. We are sorry for all that you have lost. We are here to find out if we can be of help, and if so, how we can best deliver that help to you.”

Much has happened since then. I just returned from Richwood after experiencing with many other people a new kind of flooding that is leaving its mark upon the town. It’s a flood of healing and helpfulness, a flood of hard work being done well by many hands that are coming to the area. It’s a flood of rebuilding, repairing, restoring, rejuvenating. It’s a flood of God’s grace happening in thousands of different ways one day at a time. It’s a flood of green trucks and green shirts communicating a message of hope and joy and love.

At this mid-way point in the year, and after numerous journeys to Richwood by our mission workers and volunteers, nearly 20 rehabilitation projects have already been completed. By the end of July, I am confident that we will meet the needs of 30 suffering households. By the end of September, I believe we will reach the goal of bringing assistance to at least 40 households in that community. In the course of doing all this work, the mission expects to spend some $650,000 in providing building materials, furnaces, washers and dryers, and the skilled labor required to get the work done. We have already hosted hundreds of volunteers in the local abandoned armory, which has been thoroughly refitted as an emergency volunteer base and charitable construction center, and we expect to work with hundreds more before year’s end.

Two evenings ago, while preparing to return home the next day to meet local commitments, I found myself privileged to address the nearly 90 volunteers from the Avon Lake United Church of Christ, and upon their invitation, to proclaim God’s eternal Word and to serve Holy Communion in the context of an armory-hall evening worship service. I preached from one of the great post-resurrection passages in the Gospel of John, Chapter 20, verses 19-23, emphasizing the words of the Risen Lord to the shocked and bewildered disciples of 2000 years ago. “Peace be with you,” Jesus said. “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” I reminded those gathered of the call of Christ, and how this calling is always personal and powerfully transforming, and perpetual in its eternal results. Then, humbly and quietly, I invited them to the Table of the Lord Jesus Christ, this one made of a piece of plywood with 2×4 legs and braces. We broke His Bread and outpoured His Cup, and as those dear young people already exhausted from the hard day’s work eagerly came forward with their adult leaders and our wonderful mission workers to receive communion, a tear welled up in my eye and I wondered about the fragile nature of life, how each and all of us are incomplete and broken, riddled with the damage of sin and pride and the floods of service to self.

Then I thought of another flood, the one of God’s gracious love, the one that provides healing to our hurts, forgiveness for our sins, redemption and meaning to our lives. I thought of how that flood provides fuel and trucks and workers and tools and machines and materials and even airplanes and pilots to answer the Hosanna cries in our world and the words from an old hymn came into my mind.

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains…”

There are all kinds of floods in this world, dear friend. Most of them can lay a place or a person to waste. One of them can lift a person up to a new start, a season of reconstruction and building, a time of joy instead of sorrow.

Thank you, dear Hosanna friend, for helping in all the ways you do, to provide for the flood of God’s grace and love to this world of deep need.

~DDE

Read the rest of the 2017 June Newsletter here.

2017 Summer Staff Wanted

19 May

We are looking for 2017 summer staff!
Each summer we hire a few high school or college age students to support our efforts during the busy summer months. For some high school students, it is an introduction into the building trades and allows them to further consider their career possibilities.  For other students, working with us introduces them to a whole new world and their hearts and minds are opened to needs they never knew existed. Contact us f you’re interested in learning more.

Lighthearted Dolly

11 May

A fax we received at the office:

 

Dear Amy,

I wanted to send you a thank you card but I do not have your address.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you! You have no idea what this means to me.

I sleep peacefully now, no longer cold and frightened of the situation I was in before this beautiful furnace.

Worrying about this cancer and not missing work was enough of a strain. I never asked anyone for anything before. I never had anyone who could help me with something as big as this.

I believe the stress that is gone helps me cope better with cancer.

People see a difference in me.  I feel a little more lighthearted.

You did all of this, and I will never be able to thank you enough!

Love,
Dolly

 

Our deepest appreciation to those who support the mission of Hosanna Industries. We thank you for helping to keep Dolly warm and for making her more”lighthearted” during a very difficult time in her life.

-From an earlier e-blast.  (Sign up for our e-blasts on the bottom of our website.)

First Day of Spring Break

21 April

It was our first day of SPRING BREAK. I had thoughts of sleeping in and being lazy.

But I was asked to help Hosanna Industries.  Callie and I were happy to get up bright and early, 9am to about 2:30pm.  In that short time, a ramp was built, a sidewalk laid, a roof replaced, some light landscaping and fellowship and prayer happened.

Volunteering with this organization gives you an opportunity to work hard.  BUT it also gives you an opportunity to see LOVE at WORK! Every person in the group belongs.  There is work for everyone to do.  Helping place shingles on a roof, raking up leaves, building a wheelchair ramp, visiting with clients, placing paving stones or simply picking up after the work is done–everyone belongs. The best part of volunteering with Hosanna however, is getting to know people and loving strangers–hugging someone you didn’t know before, listening to stories of life, laughing with a new friend, witnessing tears of thankfulness…

Christan & Callie (age 7), volunteering with Hosanna Industries on Maundy Thursday, 2017

The folks at Hosanna WORK HARD, but they LOVE even HARDER! And during this Holy Week, I wouldn’t have wanted to be any place else.  It is important to me to raise my daughter to know this kind of love.  I want to help her understand how God loves her, and the work Hosanna does mirrors how HE has called us to love.  You can see WHY they work so hard! HE is the reason! And the love is so true and genuine.

Thank you folks for being such living sacrifices! Happy Easter!

-Christan Baker, Volunteer

Perks to Pray and Play: Mihelic’s Shop ‘n Save

10 April

Perks to Pray and Play is a rebate program available at the four Mihelic Shop ‘n Save locations where they allow customers to Register your existing Perks card under Hosanna Industries. As you shop, they track your purchases by your Shop ‘n Save card. Then they give 2% of qualified purchases in gift cards to Hosanna Industries.

Example: If you register your Perks card with this program & spend $500 a month on groceries at any of the four Mihelic Shop ‘n Save stores, $10 a month in gift cards will be donated to Hosanna Industries from Shop ‘n Save.

This program doesn’t affect your regular gas perks that you get & it doesn’t cost anything.  The more people that choose Hosanna Industries as their Perks to Pray and Play recipient & shop at one of the four Mihelic Shop ‘n Save locations, the more gift cards will be gifted to the mission.

Four Mihelic Shop ‘n Save locations:

  1. Glenshaw Shop ‘n Save
    917 Butler Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15223
    (412) 487-1460
  2. Pines Plaza Shop ‘n Save
    1130 Perry Highway
    Pittsburgh, PA 15237
    (412) 367-5115
  3. Rochester Road Shop ‘n Save
    814 Rochester Road
    Pittsburgh, PA 15229
    (412) 931-0743
  4. Richland Mall Shop ‘n Save
    5375 William Flynn Highway
    Gibsonia, PA 15044
    (724) 443-8420

To register your Perks card & choose Hosanna Industries as your charity recipient:

  1. Complete this form & bring it into one of the four stores listed above.
  2. If you do not already have a Shop ‘n Save Perks card, you can simply stop by the service desk in one of these stores & an employee will gladly get you taken care of & registered for our Perks to Pray and Play program.