Following devastating tornados on April 10th, 1979, a group of people came together to provide services for victims in Wichita Falls. As Interfaith Ministries celebrate 40 years, officials look back on how it all began.
For almost five years, Kris Gossom has served as the executive director of an organization committed to providing assistance to individuals and families who are threatened with homelessness, loss of utilities and more.
“We came from the big disaster of the tornado, but we’re to help people with financial problems that they may have that are disasters to them,” Gossom said.
The 1979 Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak that caused more than 50 fatalities and hundreds to be injured, not to mention the whirlwind of damages across Texoma, is what started what we now know as Interfaith Ministries.
“We fill a need that no one else is, we help people with short term problems,” Gossom said.
Former Executive Director Jean Payne discussed how it all began when 20 or more churches of various denominations decided that something needed to be done to help those affected from that never to be forgotten event.
“As a church community, as the believers in the faith community, they realized they could do many more things working as a group than they could separately,” Payne said.
Payne served as executive director for 32 years and is proud to be a part of that 40-year legacy.
“It’s the faithfulness of God working through people that trust in him that all these things have happened,” Payne said. “My hope and my prayer for this organization are that they continue to seek God’s direction and follow where he is leading this organization and that the community will see that and continue to support.”
As they cross over into their fourth decade, both Gossom and Payne look forward to Interfaith Ministries meeting the needs of many more Texomans in the years to come.
“It’s the people of Wichita Falls who have given us the funds that have allowed us to help their friends and neighbors,” Gossom said.
Interfaith is able to provide these services solely on donations if you would like to help, follow this link.