North Carolina Baptists are on the front lines of disaster response in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast.
“Several recovery teams were mobilized over the weekend,” according to North Carolina Baptist Men’s (NCBM) latest report Nov. 4. “Additional teams will be organized as the projects are prepared and housing is secured.”
Three NCBM feeding units are assigned to Piscataway (Rutgers), Toms River and Atlantic City. A recovery unit is in Toms River and Atlantic City. “A comfort station consisting of a shower unit, laundry unit, and chaplaincy volunteers will also setup in Atlantic City,” NCBM reported.
The numbers of volunteers continues to grow. As of Nov. 2, more than 450 volunteers with some 45 units from nine Baptist state conventions were working in at least six states affected by the storm, according to a Baptist Press story.
NAMB photo by John Swain
Sonny Yow of Concord, N.C., places food in an oven at the feeding unit deployed at Rutgers University.
“This is certainly a large disaster zone that will require a lot of assistance,” Gaylon Moss, NCBM disaster relief coordinator, told Baptist Press early in the response efforts.
A N.C. volunteer was on site in New Jersey with American Red Cross before Sandy struck New York. He helped coordinate the first response from N.C. Baptists. A NCBM update via email asked N.C. Baptists to pray, go and give:
• Pray. Pray for people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Pray for the volunteers who are going to minister. Pray for safety and the witness of our disaster relief volunteers. Pray that God’s love will be shown to hurting people and they will want to know more about our great God who loves them.
• Go. If you are interested and able to go and help, please go to NCBM’s website to sign up. Go to baptistsonmission.org/Sandy. Updates are also available on the website and NCBM’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/ncmissions.
• Give. Give to help those in need. If you would like to make a contribution, please make your check payable to NC Baptist Men, designated for Disaster Relief, and mail to: N.C. Baptist Men, Baptist State Convention, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512. You can also give online at baptistsonmission.org. Also, please support the N.C. Missions Offering. All of N.C. Baptist Men’s regular budget comes from the N.C. Missions Offering.
Other relief efforts
Southern Baptists from Kentucky, New York and Virginia were working at feeding kitchens in New York. In New Jersey, N.C. volunteers were joined by others from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and South Carolina to feed storm victims. Virginia volunteers continued to serve alongside West Virginia volunteers in the Mountaineer state. Assessment teams were working in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Chainsaw and recovery teams were also at work across the region.
Fritz Wilson, executive director for disaster relief for the North American Mission Board (NAMB), said he expects most of the teams to be serving in the New York City area by Nov. 5, with a capacity to produce 450,000 hot meals each day. Potential requests for additional meal-per-day capacity could take the number well above 450,000 meals per day provided by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers.
From its disaster operations center in Alpharetta, Ga., NAMB coordinates Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through a partnership between NAMB and the SBC’s 42 state conventions, most of which have their own state disaster relief programs.
SBDR assets include 82,000 trained volunteers, including chaplains, and some 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained disaster relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
Southern Baptists and others who want to donate to the disaster relief operations can contact their state conventions or go to NAMB’s disaster relief fund site at namb.net/disaster-relief-donations. Other ways to donate are to call (866) 407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”
Partnership in Cuba
In an Oct. 26 email Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptist Men, asked for prayers for the people of Cuba. With sustained winds of 105 mph, Sandy, then a category 2 storm, struck near Santiago, Cuba. NCBM has a partnership with the Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba.
Assessment teams were in the Caribbean working with local pastors to help get aid to needed areas.
“More than 300,000 houses and other facilities have been partially or totally destroyed in the city,” said Victor Manuel Quesada, a pastor in eastern Cuba. “Every street in most of the main cities and towns in the province are blockaded by trees, junk and demolished materials. The situation is indescribable.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Information was pulled from stories available through Baptist Press.)