Christian Chronicle

Volunteer State: Christians rally to help

After Tennessee’s deadly tornadoes, Churches of Christ play a crucial role in the disaster relief effort.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Mike Luke wore a bright orange “Disaster Assistance Church of Christ” T-shirt as he steered a four-wheel vehicle carrying food and supplies for tornado victims toward a ravaged neighborhood.

Near a hill lined with 18 memorial crosses remembering victims of last week’s EF-4 twister, the Christian cattle farmer waved at National Guard troops directing traffic. 

On the seat beside him rested a red velvet cake — a favorite treat casually mentioned by a homeowner cleaning up debris the previous day. Luke decided to surprise her with it.


Related: After tornado, a teen grieves her 4-year-old friend


When no one answered the woman’s door, the volunteer allowed only momentary disappointment before moving to the next house.

“We got everything!” he told an extended family working outside a residence with a tarped roof. “We got hot meals! We got hot coffee!”

They accepted a box full of cooked barbecue meat and a half-dozen bottles of Gatorade. They shared that two other relatives — Keith and Cathy Selby — had lived nearby and died in the storm.

“Man, the Church of Christ has been amazing,” said an appreciative Danny Hughes, while another of the group joked that she had gained 5 pounds as a result of the storm.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the April edition of The Christian Chronicle.

April 2020 front page

RELATED: Singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ in memory of 2-year-old Sawyer (reporting from Cookeville, Tenn.)

RELATED: On Sunday after tornadoes, sadness gives way to gladness (column from Mt. Juliet, Tenn.)

RELATED: Links to all of The Christian Chronicle’s in-depth coverage of the tornadoes

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