Local volunteer prepares for Hurricane Florence - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Local volunteer prepares for Hurricane Florence

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- One local man is preparing to help those effected by Hurricane Florence, before it even hits.

Merle "Whip" Whipple started the Hands of Christ Disaster Relief Ministry almost two years ago.

Working nearly 70 hours a week as a property manager and running Hands of Christ completely off of donations, Whipple is a changed man.

"Most of my life has been spent on the streets and I was in prison most of my adult life," said Whipple.

It was during his last sentence that he experienced what he calls a religious transformation.

"I was always selfish and I didn't really care about other people, now I just want to help people in need whether it's a local thing or across the country."

He helps out here in the Southern Tier, as well as traveling as far as Puerto Rico, Texas and now North Carolina.

"I will Google the hardest hit area and that's the area that we will go to and we will pull up there and I will find a church or some other organization that's already there and find out what we can do and where we can stage."

He stays in a live-in van while on the road, packing up a trailer with tools and equipment.

"My heart just bleeds for people that are in need and to meet people at some of their worst times in their life to be able to bring a little bit of hope to them is an amazing feeling."

To check out the ministry's Facebook page for upcoming volunteer opportunities, click here.

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