BALTIMORE — The Empowerment Temple Church said it helped raise $35,000 between church funds and community donations for those impacted by the gas explosion on August 10th. Much of the funds went to pay for the funeral costs for the two victim's killed in the blast, Joseph Graham and Lonnie Herriott.
"On behalf of the families and the church, we thank all of the citizens that helped us support that," said Pastor GJ Barnes. "We were able to cover 100% of those costs for both families as well as related expenses."
During a press conference Wednesday the church said it will continue its efforts to meet the needs of those impacted by the blast. Efforts include helping with mental health needs, displacement assitance, long and short term housing and food distribution. The church said it was also looking into ways to help families pay for insurance deductibles to help repair homes.
"What we’re doing right now is asking people to go to our website and fill out our form," said Pastor Barnes. "First and foremost we’re just getting basic demographic information such as where they are in relation to where the explosion was."
The church is encouraging families to visit www.baltimorestrong.org to fill out a needs assessment form.
In addition the church said it's partnered with more than 10 community organizations to help those impacted.
The church told WMAR 2 News it's currently partnering with the following organizations:
-American Red Cross
-Mayor's Office of Emergency Management
-The Shelter Foundation
-United Way of Central Maryland
-American Minority Veterans Research Project
-Black Ministers Conference of Montgomery County
-Renaissance Counselling Center
-Office of State Senator Jill P. Carter
-Office of Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott
-Department Social Services Workforce Development