BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Baptist Convention of New York (BCNY)
is mobilizing more than 100 Virginia college students to clean out flooded
homes in recovery efforts that will likely continue through October, Mike
Flannery, BCNY disaster relief director, reported.
Students from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., will arrive today to work
with other volunteers through Tuesday, Sept. 27, in cleaning up after the
flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee that struck within
days of one another in late August and early September.
Flannery, who is working to mobilize additional volunteers to help, noted, “We
have about 300 (homes) that we feel we can accomplish. We need 10 teams every
day to accomplish that goal, but we don’t have that.”
Students at Davis College in Johnson City, N.Y., are manning a feeding unit on
campus, preparing up to 1,500 meals a day.
The college students are an answer to prayer, Flannery said. With Southern
Baptist Disaster Relief teams responding to several concurrent disasters across
the country, the Baptist convention appealed to college students to help.
“What we owe it to is good prayer support,” Flannery said of the students’
Flannery sees an opportunity for the students “to show their love for Jesus
Christ and to witness” and thus grow in their faith.
“Most of them are Christians,” Flannery said. “But we expect some of them will
come to know Christ Jesus through the experience.”
In the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, volunteers have led a
homeowner to Christ, disaster relief director Karlene Campbell said. Some 120
volunteers have prepared nearly 75,000 meals over the past 12 days in Hazleton,
Pa., with help from the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and the
Virginia Baptist Missions Board, Campbell said.
While the need for meals is declining, requests for clean-up assistance
continue to come in, especially in hard-hit Bloomsburg, Pa., where students
from Juniata Mennonite School were helping mud-out teams from Thompsontown
Baptist Church clean up a home on Sept. 21.
“At least several hundred homes were affected by the flood, with around 40
homeowners requesting assistance,” Campbell said. “We are sure that this number
will increase. Since our resources are limited, we are focusing on priority-one
Meanwhile, the BCNY’s North Jersey Network association is working with a
limited crew in cleaning up perhaps hundreds of homes in the state, said Dennis
O’Neill, who along with his wife Elaine are newly appointed NJNet disaster
relief coordinators. Hampered in getting equipment and working with a handful
of trained volunteers in the association, O’Neill said he is prepared to buy
equipment and supplies to begin work immediately. Only four of some 20 trained
NJNet volunteers are currently available.
“There’s an excitement for helping the people. We’re here to meet the need and
help in the crisis” O’Neill said. “We haven’t been able to get teams in because
they’re everywhere else. Our situation is we don’t have the equipment.”
NJ Net is aiming to buy such big-ticket items as a trailer, generator and power
washer, along with less-expensive shovels, saws and other equipment to get the
job done, O’Neill said.
“We’re ready to roll,” he said. “Somehow, someway, we’re going to get the work
done. We’re trusting in the Lord to supply the needs and He’ll come through
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is a freelance writer in New Orleans.)