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Shades Mountain Baptist Church part of relief efforts in Gaza Stripcomment (0)

February 5, 2009

A Birmingham-area church is helping lead the way in relief efforts for war-torn Gaza.

Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, in Birmingham Baptist Association is lending technical support to a Web site, Christian-relief-for-Gaza.org, that will provide information about relief efforts being facilitated by Southern Baptists and several other organizations:

► The Shepherd Society (Bethlehem Bible College)
► Evangelical Missionary Alliance Church
► Musalaha (Ministry of Reconciliation)
► Life Agape
► Baptist Society of Gaza and the West Bank
► Council of Local Evangelical Churches
► Church of the Nazarene

The purpose of the cooperative effort, the site says, is to “prevent duplication and maximize impact.”

One significant arm of the joint effort is $92,000 from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund that will provide food for about 10,000 people during the course of this next year, according to Abraham Shepherd, Baptist Global Response (BGR) area director for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Since Southern Baptist field partners and volunteers are unable to enter the area, the project will be conducted in partnership with local believers in Gaza.

The other ministry partners will provide food for the effort as well but also will distribute clothing, window glass, household goods, blankets and other necessities that are in short supply.

“The Gaza Strip has been experiencing a humanitarian crisis for many years, prior to the war starting in December 2008,” said the project’s local director. “Last year, it was reported that the Gaza Strip had the highest unemployment rate in the world. More than a million people have been suffering due to drastic shortages of food, cooking fuel, medical supplies and other essentials. The recent war has only increased the devastation and hardships for the people of Gaza.”

Details are still being worked out in regards to logistics because of the nature of the local conflict there, said BGR Executive Director Jeff Palmer. “However, it looks as if most food can be purchased locally and distributed quickly and efficiently to those in need.” (BGR)

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