The idea of using Maranatha’s centralized location to serve as the County’s emergency shelter came about two months ago after much consideration.
“Considering the fact that Chesterfield County and Cheraw currently has no emergency escape route for people to evacuate in case of a flood, hurricane, or any other disaster, we feel this is desperately needed in Chesterfield County,” said Usher.
Within the last two months, Usher and church member, Chuck Berger, have been planning and working intensely to make this dream become a reality for the community.
“An emergency shelter is highly needed here in Chesterfield County. We never know when a real disaster or a hurricane may strike and we feel that God is leading us in this direction,” said Usher.
Usher and Berger have introduced the idea to Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Rep. Ted Vick, Cheraw Police Chief, Jay Brooks, Col. Crawford Moore of Cheraw, and Cheraw Fire Chief John L. Melton, III. A meeting with Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker and surrounding counties is also on their agenda, along with other state, county and town officials.
“Everyone we have spoken with about the shelter is 100 percent supportive of the idea. As Christians, it is our job to minister to the people in the communities,” said Usher.
According to Usher, the structure of the building that will be used for the shelter is built of solid steel and could possibly house at least 400-500 people or more, if necessary.
“Even though the temporary shelter is a building, we ask that each person or persons refrain from profanity, violence, and/or any other inappropriate activity while he on the premises during a community crisis. It is also Maranatha Family Center’s worship site and church, therefore, we ask those who come to the shelter during a crisis, show respect and cleanliness while here. We welcome all who enter our doors,” said Usher.
Usher said that no funds have been received for the project from any agencies so far. However, one local business has donated a used generator.
“We know it takes a lot of funding to provide an emergency shelter such as this, but we are not asking for any monetary donations. We are currently trying to line up the proper agencies within South Carolina and Chesterfield County for assistance when the need arises, if possible,” said Usher. “The bottom line is, we’re here to serve God and others. We are here to minister to the community and to do what the Lord wants us to do, not what we want to do,” he continued.
“When Pastor Allen and I began working on this, we knew we would be stepping out on faith. We all are excited about the shelter for Chesterfield County and appreciate all of the positive response we have received so far. We believe this shelter will help a lot of people in case of a disaster,” said Berger.
According to Usher and Berger, the shelter is its early stage, with lots of planning and effort ahead.
Cheraw Fire Chief, John L. Melton III said, “It is a good thing when we can have an emergency shelter for people to go to during a disaster or crisis. It is better for everyone.”
For more information about the Hurricane Emergency Shelter, contact Pastor Allen Usher at 843-921-8123 or visit www.maranathafamilycenter.com.