Rebuilding her business in lower Manhattan has been difficult for Grace Koh. The owner of a children's clothing store about three blocks from Ground Zero, she knew that filing forms with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross would stall her efforts to clean up after the September 11 attacks.
"I feel like there are a lot of obstacles in front of me for [getting] help from the government," she says. Koh, in her late 50s, did not want to take out a long-term loan. "So I didn't get any help. I've just survived myself."
But Koh shed joyful tears in November when Dave Stone handed her a $2,300 check to cover her rent. Stone is a preaching associate with Southeast Christian Church, a 20,000-member congregation in Louisville, Kentucky, that is giving almost $500,000 to relief efforts in New York.
The church has worked with Go Ye Chapel Mission to distribute funds directly to the needy through congregations that Go Ye Chapel founded in Boston, Washington, and New York. Go Ye Chapel, based in East Islip, New York, is a church-planting ministry of the Independent Christian Church.
Funds from Southeast's $468,000 offering have gone mostly to people or businesses needing help before they receive money from government or other sources.
The mission can offer the aid while requiring relatively little paperwork, says Paul Williams, president of Go Ye Chapel Mission. "They all know they'll get some significant funds eventually," Williams says. "But as one firefighter's widow said, 'The money you're giving us right now means more than millions I might get later.'"
Gary Whitenack, director of finance at Southeast, says the church requires careful accounting. It is disbursing funds to Go Ye Chapel in installments. Applicants fill ...