CYPRESS - After receiving criticism for not taking in victims of Hurricane Harvey, Pastor Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston opened as a shelter and distribution center at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
The community quickly responded with donated items, which piled high in the church.
A triage area was also set up for those in need of medical attention and medications.
Volunteers lined up, creating a chain to move in supplies.
Volunteers have formed a sort of human conveyor belt to take in donated items for separating. pic.twitter.com/RmL2R6ECEq— Ashley Goudeau (@AshleyG_KVUE) August 30, 2017
The church said the only reason they did not open sooner is that the roads to the church were flooded. Osteen said they opened as soon as they could.
"The mayor was asking people not to get on the roadways, plus this building was very close to flooding. It was within a foot of coming over our flood gates," Osteen said. "But also, our staff and building engineers and people, nobody was here. You know, it's not like we can ask them to come out. But you know the fact is we're here to help people. The notion that we would turn people away is totally not who Lakewood has been for the last 60 years and it's not who it is now and that's why we're seeing this."
Those who are planning to say in the church overnight have been set up in the gym, where they have air mattresses and can accommodate 300 people.
Lakewood Church said that no one will be turned away and they are dedicated to helping their neighbors.
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