With Tropical Storm Maria turning away from the United
States, disaster relief volunteers breathe a sigh of relief and continue
filling jobs across North Carolina as well as other states.
When Hurricane Irene hit North Carolina Aug. 27, North
Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) waited in the wings ready to respond to whatever
the storm brought. Irene did not stop in North Carolina, but barreled up the
East Coast wreaking havoc in the already-drenched Northeast. Tropical Storm Lee
brought more rains to North Carolina and continued flooding the Eastern
Currently, NCBM is operating sites at Hatteras, Belhaven
(FBC, Smithton), Kinston, Greenville, New Bern, and Williamston.
“People ask what I say to them. I really don’t. I just
listen,” said Steve Wynn. “I let them tell their story.”
By day three of helping coordinate Hurricane Irene recovery
efforts in New Bern, Wynn already had plenty of opportunities to listen.
One woman was so upset when she came to First Baptist Church
in New Bern, she couldn’t even put into words her request. Volunteers followed
up with her a few hours later and learned that her home is now condemned due to
extensive water damage.
NCBM expects volunteers to be needed at least several more
The teams have begun to shift to recovery work, but early
numbers indicate disaster volunteers have been busy: So far (as of Sept. 11),
21 have accepted Jesus as Savior; 6,385 have volunteered; 164,914 meals have
been prepared; 1,143 recovery jobs completed; 102 children served through the
Temporary Childcare ministry; 3,736 have used the shower unit; 874 laundry
loads completed; and chaplaincy teams have made 746 contacts with those
affected by Irene.
Other state conventions have responded to North Carolina.
There have been teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri,
Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.
“In any disaster, we try to find out where we are needed
most, and we have to base that on good information. We rely on our assessors to
help us make these decisions,” said Richard Brunson, NCBM executive
director-treasurer. “Then, we find hubs where we can serve out of. Places where
volunteers can eat and sleep, and then go out into surrounding communities to
All the ministries of NCBM, including disaster relief
efforts, are made possible by gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering.
For more information visit ncmissionsoffering.org.
To volunteer, visit the website or call (800) 395-5102, ext.
There are several stories about Hurricane Irene coverage in
North Carolina as well as other states available on the Biblical Recorder’s