LOS ANGELES — As the wrath of Hurricane Harvey forced hundreds of Texas residents to flee their flooded homes during the recent disaster, Los Angeles evangelist Mable John refused to stand idly by.
“I am devastated just thinking about what the people in Houston are going through,” said John, founder of the nonprofit Joy in Jesus Ministry and a former singer with Ray Charles’ Raelettes. “There are a lot of wonderful people there. If we don’t help them, it will take them years to recover.”
According to statistics, it is estimated that 30,000 Houston residents are currently residing in shelters and nearly 40,000 homes have been destroyed.
In her efforts to help, John has appealed to local churches and residents in Southern California to donate much-needed items that will be Fed-Exed to the ravaged area.
“I am asking people to donate 10,000 toothbrushes, 10,000 tubes of toothpaste, 10,000 bars of soap, 10,000 roll-on deodorants, 10,000 white face cloths, 10,000 baby wipes, 10,000 feminine hygiene products and 10,000 jars of Vaseline,” John said. “We also need shaving cream, razors, batteries, flashlights, alcohol swabs, shampoo, socks and men’s and women’s underwear.”
John said that she and her volunteers are also packing non-perishable food items such as dry soups, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, tuna and crackers.
“I have always had a heart for people who needed help,” she said.
John said she has contacted three ministries in Houston that are waiting to receive the donated items. The evangelist added that she also led donation efforts when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans several years ago. Her efforts helped to serve 25,000 people during the Katrina flood.
John, a former Motown and Stax recording artist known for her classic R&B hit “Your Good Thing is About to End” and who is the sister of the late R&B singer “Little Willie” John, said she was “called” to help the less fortunate.
“I was singing with Ray Charles and the Raelettes in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1980 when I heard this loud voice,” she said. “The voice was so loud, I thought someone was singing in my ear. It said, ‘Go home, there is something you need to do.’”
John didn’t hesitate. She packed her bags, headed to Los Angeles, and studied to join the ministry, earning a doctor of divinity degree from the Crenshaw Christian Center. She founded Joy Community Outreach in 1986 to feed the homeless and disenfranchised.
Each week, she donates toiletries and clothes to the less fortunate.
John said she and her volunteers will be receiving and bagging donations for hurricane victims on Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Triangular Church, 1938 S. Western Ave. The effort is also seeking volunteers.
As for helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey, John said, “We’ll do it as long as is necessary. I’m hoping that people will come and donate items, but also donate funds for shipping costs. People should not have to be hungry, outdoors or naked.”
John can be reached at (323) 939-5808 or (213) 448-3901 or online at MableJohn.org or JoyinJesus.org.