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Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers tend to affected areas following Hurricane Isaaccomment (0)

September 13, 2012

Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers tend to affected areas following Hurricane Isaac

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) operations, including feeding, chain saw, mud-out, chaplaincy and recovery work, continue to assist following Hurricane Isaac. Southern Baptist workers and volunteers, including teams from Alabama, are making a substantial impact on the storm-struck communities of Louisiana and Mississippi. They mobilized quickly and effectively, including preparing and delivering 130,500 hot meals to survivors by Sept. 7. 

Most of the feeding occurred in the greater New Orleans area, where some 100,000 people were still without electricity in sweltering heat a week after the Category 1 storm brought torrential rains and flooding. 

In some areas the rain resulted in more flooding and residential damage than that caused by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, and post-traumatic stress has set in for many south Louisiana residents, especially those who also went through Katrina. 

SBDR feeding units from Louisiana, Texas (Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Texas Baptist Men), Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma continued to serve meals at press time. After SBDR volunteers cook and package the meals, the food is being delivered to flood victims by the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. In some remote Louisiana areas, helicopters or ferries may have to be used to deliver food in lieu of trucks. 

Six Alabama Baptist disaster relief mud-out teams worked the week after the Labor Day holiday weekend — three in Louisiana and three in Mississippi, said Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM). At press time, three more mud-out teams were set to relieve the three teams in Mississippi, he added.

The three teams preparing to leave were headed for Pascagoula, Miss., or Moss Point, Miss., said Tommy Puckett, disaster relief specialist with the SBOM. The exact location was not known at press time, but the teams going were from District 12 — Chilton Baptist Association, Autauga Baptist Association and Elmore Baptist Association.

Also preparing for a Sept. 11 departure was the Alabama Baptist disaster relief child care team, under the direction of Becky Luther, a member of East Gadsden Baptist Church. 

Two teams of 10 will serve at a FEMA center in Chalmette, La., Luther said, who will go out with the first team, which will work Sept. 11–15, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The second team will follow the same schedule Sept. 16–19.

Team members are from various Baptist associations across the state, Luther said.

“We will be partnering with Texas, supplying the manpower but using their equipment,” she said, noting they focus on comforting the children and ministering to the families.

“While the parents are filling out questionnaires and being interviewed, we provide free child care and play games, do crafts and read Bible stories,” Luther said.

A group of about 25 volunteers from Alabama also worked during Labor Day weekend to clear debris from the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and from the homes of nearby seminary faculty. The teams, from Cleburne and Calhoun Baptist associations and the Tallassee area, helped prepare the campus for classes following the holiday weekend. 

Johnson also noted that a bucket truck team from St. Clair Baptist Association was serving at Camp Whispering Pines in Citronelle at press time, and that a skid steer team from Autauga Association was headed to the camp Sept. 10.

Isaac has claimed eight lives — six in Louisiana and two in Mississippi, according to CNN. Insured damages inflicted by Isaac may top the $2 billion mark, according to insurance company AIG. That figure does not include the noninsured.

To donate to disaster relief efforts, visit www.sbdr.org or send a check to: Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, P.O. Box 11870, Montgomery, AL 36111. Marking it for general disaster relief will allow officials to use it for any disaster, but you may mark it specifically for Hurricane Isaac to be used only for this disaster.


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