As far as disasters are concerned, 2017 will forever be known as “unprecedented.”
The nation has been impacted by hurricanes of historic proportions, regionally pervasive wildfires and localized storms that struck numerous communities. Nations in the Caribbean also have been pummeled. The losses of life and property are more than statistics – they represent people who desperately need hope and healing.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams have become a vital part of disaster relief efforts in the United States. The year 2017 has involved major responses to natural disasters – hurricanes ravaging the Gulf Coast states and the Caribbean to wildfires in the West. SBDR leaders and volunteers have been ready to respond at a moment’s notice to bring hope and healing during the darkest days of peoples’ lives.
In each of these moments when many families and communities were reeling, thousands of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers from 48 states faithfully answered the call.
“Southern Baptists have responded by serving over 700,000 hours and providing 2.7 million meals,” said David Melber, president of the Send Relief ministry of the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers “bring healing to those in need and offer the hope of Jesus Christ in the midst of life’s biggest challenges,” Melber said. “Over 500 people have made professions of faith in Christ through the efforts of Southern Baptists.”
NAMB President Kevin Ezell noted in advance of Disaster Relief Appreciation Day in the Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday, Nov. 5, “Because of your efforts and your giving, Southern Baptists are among the three largest providers of disaster relief in the United States. What an incredible example of how our family joins together to meet needs and, most importantly, share Christ.”
In a Nov. 2 statement, the mission board stated, “The commitment of time and energy from Southern Baptists are always essential to delivering help and hope during times of great need. You are known for compassion and sacrifice. Your willingness to respond at a moment’s notice is a reflection of your dedication to loving your neighbor, even those you’ve never met. Thank you, Southern Baptists, for reflecting Jesus and faithfully sharing the [g]ospel. You have served well.”
So far this year, nearly 22,000 volunteers have served on food preparation, flood clean-up, fire clean-up, chainsaw, mud-out and childcare teams.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief dates back to 1967 with the response by Texas Baptist Men to survivors of Hurricane Beulah in the Rio Grande Valley.
For more information about SBDR, click here.
Watch a thank-you message from Ezell and Melber:
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Greg Teffertiller is marketing director for the Send Relief ministry of the North American Mission Board. Disaster Relief Appreciation Day in the Southern Baptist Convention is Sunday, Nov. 5.)