Wednesday, May 21, 2008



A message from Jim and Lelia Armstrong of Grace Christian Church in Tinton Falls:

We're organizing a food drive at Grace Christian Church for the first two weeks in June (June 1st - June 14th). The purpose is threefold: (1) to collect much-needed food items for the local pantries & soup kitchens; (2) to educate our congregation on hunger issues in the local area; and (3) to gain some experience and (hopefully) expertise in orchestration of food drives so that we can share it with other churches in the county with the objective to encourage them and gain more partners in supporting nearby pantries and soup kitchens. We always have room for joint projects, so if ORB wants to join in the fun, we'd be glad to have you!

This would be awesome if we could do this. With the permission of Christian, I would love to start collecting as soon as June 1st. Who would like to be involved in the collection and post-collection coordination process? Let me know at


From the New York Times (Click on the above image to enlarge)

This is something that everyone seems to know is an injustice, but no one really knows what to do about it.


Well, some gracious people at Grace Christian Church in Tinton Falls have decided to do something about it! Jim and Lelia Armstrong have organized a team that takes bread that would have been thrown away in businesses like Panera and Manhattan Bagel, wrap it, and give it to local food banks and soup kitchens in Monmouth County, such as Lunch Break in Red Bank!

But with their operation growing, they need ORB's help! And I would love it if some of us could help out! They are open to any suggested times and businesses, but here are their most pressing needs if you just want to jump right in.

We have basically the same "permanent" volunteer opportunities open, plus a "temporary 3-week vacation" coverage. They are:


MONDAY: Pick up at Manhattan Bagel, 8:00 p.m. & package.
Pick up at Panera at 9:15 p.m. & package.

Delivery on Tuesday morning to: Salvation Army, Asbury Park; The Center, Asbury Park.
(possible delivery to Lunch Break, Red Bank, if quantity of products received permits)

SATURDAY: Pick up at Manhattan Bagel, 6:00 p.m. & package.
Pick up at Panera at 9:15 p.m. & package.

Delivery on Sunday to Long Branch Church of God, Long Branch; St. Augustine's Episcopal Church. Delivery to by between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

OTHER: (1) Additional pick ups/packaging at Manhattan Bagel, 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday & Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

(2) TEMPORARY-TUESDAY, May 20th-Jun 3rd: Pick up at Manhattan Bagel at 9:15 p.m. & package. Delivery on Wednesday a.m. to Spring House, Eatontown; Eatontown Senior Center; Eatontown Food Pantry.

If you are interested/available for any of these days, we'd be very happy to first demonstrate what is entailed so it is seen and experienced first-hand prior to any commitment. We have the packaging supplies on hand, so all they'd need is the desire and about 3 hours to commit. It would be great--down the road a bit--to cultivate more delivery locations in the Middletown area that would allow volunteers who live in that area to partner with the Panera there, resulting in a more convenient delivery schedule for those who live north of Tinton Falls/Shrewsbury/Lincroft.

Is anyone up for it? If so, e-mail and let me know. (The people that have already expressed interest, I will contact you in the next day or so to coordinate.)


Friday, May 16, 2008

DISCUSS: Social Justice? Or Saving Souls?

Below, I posted a talk from a theologian about the supposed dichotomy between "social justice" and "personal salvation" and the role Christians have in the world. But what do you guys and gals think? Do Christians and church communities need to work on concentrating on so-called "social justice" issues? Does that detract from "saving souls" as its main role? Can you really separate the two? Can you talk social justice without getting into politics? And would that be wrong?

(Post a comment!)


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

N.T. Wright, brilliant theologian, on "personal salvation" vs. "social justice" and "putting the world to rights."

Nicholas Thomas "Tom" Wright is the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and a leading New Testament scholar.

He's also really really awesome. I'm trying to aim Jared asking him, how do I summarize him in one paragraph? But I can't. Wright has written over thirty books, both at the scholarly level and for a popular audience. He's a world renowned theologian. Etc etc.

And he has something to say about the supposed dichotomy between "personal salvation" and "social justice." Okay, yeah, I'm definitely personalizing this because it's something that urks me. But if you've got 45 minutes to kill (the last 15 minutes are question and answer) -- and all you gotta do is put this on your iPod and put it on while you drive -- please listen. I think God calls on us to do something about the injustice here on earth, and Wright says we "feel it in our bones to be true." Powerful stuff.

(It begins with an intro from the group Christian Aid, if you want to fast forward, it begins around 5:30)
Putting The World To Rights - March 2007, Christian Aid Act Justly Conference (to save, right-click and hit "Save As")


Monday, May 12, 2008

Powerful Quake Ravages China, Killing Thousands...


A powerful earthquake struck southwestern China on Monday, toppling thousands of homes, factories and offices, trapping students in schools, and killing at least 10,000 people, the country’s worst natural disaster in three decades...

Landslides, power failures and fallen mobile phone towers left much of the affected area cut off from the outside world and limited information about the damage. But snapshots of concentrated devastation suggested that the death toll that could rise significantly as rescue workers reached the most heavily damaged towns. State media reported at midday on Tuesday that 10,000 people remained buried in Mianzhu, one of the cities near the epicenter in Wenchuan.

At least two large schools, each with nearly 1,000 students, were reduced to piles of concrete dust and debris, setting off a frantic search for survivors that stretched through the night.

China’s leaders often respond assertively to natural disasters, fearing a strong popular reaction if they bungle rescue efforts. But a complex relief operation on the scale that may be needed in Sichuan could strain Chinese resources even as the United Nations and many charitable groups are busy providing aid to Myanmar, hit by a huge cyclone this month....

More information at The New York Times.


Many of the same organizations that I listed in the first post concerning Burma have set up separate funds for the aftermath of this earthquake in China. Please check them out if you are interesting in donating your money for immediate relief.


Does China need the same help as Burma? How do you decide who to give aid to? The complexities of trying to give money for immediate relief in times of disaster..


European governments, including Britain, as well as the major international aid agencies are also ready to offer assistance, in spite of the pressures created by already trying to help with the aftermath of the Burmese cyclone.

Matthew Cochrane, a spokesman for the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, said: "It is too early to say how much international help might be needed."

Beijing has not so far made any request for assistance from other governments or aid organisations.

China, unlike Burma and other countries in the region, has the resources, manpower and sophisticated disaster response teams capable of handling the emergency on its own.

The Chinese government has sent its own national disaster team and national search and rescue team to the stricken towns and villages to support local relief teams.

From "Bush offers aid to China following Earthquake" -- The Guardian


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bodies Flow Into Hard-Hit Area of Myanmar

From --

The bodies come and go with the tides. They wash up onto the riverbanks or float grotesquely downstream, almost always face down. They are all but ignored by the living.

In the southern reaches of the Irrawaddy Delta, where the only access to hundreds of small villages is by boat, the remains of the victims of the May 3 cyclone that swept across Myanmar are rotting in the sun.

“When we first saw the bodies floating past, we were sad and afraid,” said Aung Win, a 45-year-old rice farmer, who seemed to have survived because his house is made of hardwood. “Now we just say, here comes another body.”

In the less devastated areas, the military junta was focused on a constitutional referendum on Saturday intended to cement its power after a campaign of intimidation, even as it continued to restrict foreign aid shipments.

Relief experts say the aid being distributed is a fraction of what is needed to help as many as 1.5 million people facing starvation and disease. The military appeared to be diverting some resources from cyclone victims to the referendum. One resident of Yangon, speaking by phone, said refugees who had sought shelter in schoolhouses were forced out so the buildings could be used as polling places.

In a delta so vast, crisscrossed by tiny waterways, it is very difficult to assess the overall scale of death and destruction. The official government death toll from the cyclone is about 23,000, but by some accounts, it could reach 100,000 if aid does not reach survivors soon.

More information at The New York Times.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

first post - information on disaster relief for myanmar and where to contribute...

Hello friends,
Welcome to the first post of ORB CARE! I really want to learn more HTML and image making programs and such so I can really dedicate my efforts towards making this site something really special.

The goal of this ORB CARE blog is to have a place where people can turn to as a hub for ORB CARE service events, for learning more about social justice issues, current events, and find links and information about organizations they can either contribute to or volunteer with for serving God's children.

But rather than go on about something in the abstract, the real reason I'm creating this blog right now is to provide information to the community about the after effects of a cyclone in Myanmar that has left at least 22,000 dead and places to donate to provide immediate relief.


Information from -

BANGKOK — A powerful cyclone that destroyed a vast swath of coastal Myanmar and left many thousands of people dead prompted the country’s military leaders to allow some foreign aid groups to deliver relief supplies on Tuesday. But the ruling junta came under increasing pressure to further open its doors — and even relax its tight political grip — to grapple with the growing disaster.

The Myanmar government put its tally of deaths since Cyclone Nargis struck early Saturday at 22,500 and said 41,000 people were missing. Such early estimates often prove inaccurate, and the wide path of this cyclone, which destroyed homes across the fertile Irrawaddy Delta and into Yangon, the nation’s main city, left a large area of destruction, complicating rescue efforts and damage assessments for days or weeks to come...

“More deaths were caused by the tidal wave than the storm itself,” Maung Maung Swe, minister for relief and resettlement, said, in the first official description of the destruction. “The wave was up to 12 feet high, and it swept away and inundated half the houses in low-lying villages. They did not have anywhere to flee.”

A spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program said that as many as one million people might have lost their homes and that some villages were almost completely destroyed. That estimate appeared to be a rough assessment based on aerial and satellite photographs of the affected region.



Here is a short list of places you can contribute to. As with any contribution, be smart and responsible as to which organizations you give to -- some give direct food aid, some give medicine, some give more long-term structural relief. Some contribute to individuals, some give to other organizations already in Myanmar, some are already there. Be involved in your giving, invest some time.

But also realize that every part of the relief process counts. And remember, prayer is one the most powerful tools of relief you have!

I've tried to provide a brief summary of where your money would go. To check charities’ fund allocations or administrative costs, guidance is online at

88 Hamilton Avenue
Stamford, Conn. 06902
AmeriCares has assembled life-saving medical and other humanitarian supplies to be shipped immediately to our partners on the ground in Myanmar. AmeriCares staff are also en route to the region

45 West 36th Street
New York, N.Y. 10018

AJWS strengthens civil society post disaster by providing direct support to community-based agencies enabling them to participate and lead a relief-to-reconstruction-to-development process. The Rapid Relief Fund enables AJWS to respond immediately to emergency situations.

1-800-521-CARE (1-800-521-2273)
151 Ellis Street
Atlanta, Ga. 30303

CARE will be working with the UN and Myanmar government authorities to assess the destruction from Tropical Cyclone Nargis, and is prepared to respond with immediate aid.

Southeast Asia Natural Disaster
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Md. 21203-7090

CARE has been working in Myanmar for more than 14 years, with nearly 500 staff engaged in projects in 120 townships.

(011) 41-22-730-4222
P.O. Box 372
CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland

The International Federation directs and coordinates international assistance to some of the world's most vulnerable people. Together with Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, the Federation acts locally to respond to humanitarian challenges everywhere, everyday.

(877) 803-4622
P.O. Box 630225
Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225

IOCC will provide cash support to its ecumenical partners toward emergency relief supplies for the survivors in Myanmar, as well as issuing an Emergency Appeal for the crisis.

Myanmar Cyclone Response
54 Wilton Road
Westport, Conn. 06880

Save the Children is responding to the needs of hundreds of thousands of children and families affected by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Their immediate needs are for food and nonfood items, including clean water and shelter. Like millions of children and families affected by emergencies all over the world, their long-term needs are to recover from the crisis, restore normalcy and rebuild their lives.

(202)-296-1115 or (800)-770-1100
1775 K St., NW
Suite 290
Washington, D.C. 20006

Plastic sheeting and tents – sufficient for 10,000 people – will be sent to Yangon from Thailand by the fastest available means as a first response to aid the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes.

125 Maiden Lane
New York, N.Y. 10038

(866) 929-1694
Friends of the World Food Program
1819 L Street, NW
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20036

WFP has taken initial steps to make emergency funding, disaster relief supplies and food stocks from across the Asia region available for use in responding to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. In the coming days, WFP will plan for and launch a larger emergency operation covering greater humanitarian needs as determined with the completion of ongoing rapid field assessments and reflecting the views of the Government of Myanmar..

1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-56-24453)
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, Wash. 98063-9716

Each gift of $100 will provide a Family Survival Kit, containing things like:

  • Emergency food
  • Clean water
  • Blankets and temporary shelter
  • Cooksets