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Vance's Evergreen Baptist ministeres to community comment (0)

April 5, 2012

After the tornadoes hit in April 2011, Debbie Cohen and many of her fellow Evergreen Baptist Church, Vance, members could often be found at the G.G. Hardin Center in Brookwood. They offered their services as volunteers and were able to reach out to families in need throughout the community.

Once the demand for volunteers petered out, though, the Evergreen group realized there were still several people in need of assistance and they wanted to continue the outreach. Cohen had a list of community members who had been affected by the storm, and she wanted to follow up with the people on that list to be sure everyone was on track to get their lives put back together after the storm.

To help with this process, Evergreen Baptist set up a fund to pay for the ministry.

“We met the biggest needs first and then continued with smaller needs,” Cohen said. “We bought beds, paid for hotels while people’s homes were rebuilt, helped with clothes and furniture, whatever we needed to do.”

Luckily, Evergreen Baptist has a group of older men who routinely offer their construction services to churches that need help with building or repair work. These men were able to offer their expertise to the Evergreen storm ministry in many cases. And, when certain jobs were too extensive for the Evergreen men to handle, Cohen was able to reach out to contacts she’d made at the G.G. Hardin Center.

“If they couldn’t fix something, I’d go back through a list of contacts who could help me,” she said. “We kind of work together with different denominations and all sorts of connections.”

Though she and her fellow Evergreen volunteers have helped several people in the last few months, one of Cohen’s most memorable experiences involved a mother and her grown daughter, who was disabled. Their mobile home had been destroyed by the storm, and the daughter was having a difficult time being in new environments.

“We put our heads together to see what we could do to help this family,” Cohen said. “They’d gotten some FEMA money, so our church decided to match the FEMA money, which enabled us to find them a mobile home and furnish it, too. There were so many people who worked together to make this happen.”  


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