Joel Osteen tweeted that Lakewood Church will open to those who need shelter in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey flooding.
“Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter,” Osteen said in the tweet.
Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless in the wake of unprecedented flooding.
The Houston televangelist caught a lot of flack on social media for closing the church doors and for posting messages of prayer. Many wanted to know why the church couldn’t serve as a shelter for frantic residents.
In a statement, though, Osteen clarified that a bit. He said the megachurch “never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity. “
A spokeswoman from the church also sent photos that appear to show flooding in and around the buildingon Sunday and Monday morning. She said the water had since gone down.
A post on the church’s Facebook page also said it is coordinating with the city as a collection site for distributing supplies to Houston area shelters.
Beginning at noon Tuesday “ we are collecting infant and adult diapers, baby formula and baby food. Help us help others. Please bring these items to Lakewood Church, Circle Drive off Timmons St.”
The church also said on social media that over the last couple of days “ as the enormity of this storm was being realized, we have been working to organize relief efforts for the Houston area with our friend Franklin Graham and the disaster relief organization that he oversees, Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse has been, since it’s inception, organized to respond to situations just like Hurricane Harvey, and we are grateful to be able to partner with them to provide assistance to the Houston area.
“We know the need is great. That much is clear. We do not yet know all the ways we can help.”