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Church building disaster relief team

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - While the storm season is in full swing, a Lawton church is becoming the first of its kind in southwest Oklahoma to have a disaster relief team. Crystal Hills Freewill Baptist Church received supplies like generators and a chain saw from Arms of Compassion, which is a charity organization run by Oklahoma’s Freewill Baptist Churches. Members of the church volunteer to use the donated supplies to go out and help people who have been hit hard by storms.

The Arms of Compassion's purpose is to put the right tools in the hands of local churches who know the area well. They want them to be the first on the ground in flooding, tornado or winter storm disasters. If larger organizations do step in and take over, the team can pack up and look to help another family in need.

“If somebody is in need, and I’m willing and able and we have the stuff to do it, we'll be there," said Zack Whitehead, member of the new disaster relief team.

Whitehead, along with Crystal Hills Pastor Earl Jenkins checked out everything that was donated to them this weekend. Making sure generators work, and the gas cans were all accounted for.

"We’re trying to get a grip on, how far do we want to take this?” said Jenkins. “Because it's unlimited. The potential is unlimited."

Jenkins has been talking with arms of compassion about starting a team at his church for months. He was encouraged to accept the donation by two of his members who were out in the Cache floods last year.

"They were wading the creeks at the floods, they were recovering people's property,” said Jenkins. “It's a passion that they want to help."

Whitehead and Joe Ireland were those members. While they do want to put these supplies to good use.

"The ultimate goal is to not have to use them,” Ireland. “But we feel like we need to be ready for the 2 a.m. phone calls, and for the late nights and long days."

The church is still in the planning phase of putting their team together. The pastor is talking with Comanche County officials this week to let them know they are available to help, and how they can be directed to people who truly need the help.

Pastor Jenkins told 7NEWS that they weren't supposed to receive the supplies until next weekend, but he wanted to be ready to help because of the potential severe storms this week.

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