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Dakota/Minn. flood relief in need of more volunteers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP)–A ministry opportunity for Southern Baptistsof historic proportions in the Upper Midwest could be hobbled in the weeks ahead if trained volunteers don’t respond to the call for help, according to Mickey Caison, national disaster relief director for the Brotherhood Commission.
Caison, who completed 10 days as on-site coordinator for flood relief efforts in the Dakotas and Minnesota May 14, said he was being “begged” by government officials to expand the Southern Baptist effort.
“We need to assign 40 volunteers to do mud-out work and another 40 to assist with child care every week for the next four to six weeks. We have identified two new sites for child care facilities, but we can’t commit yet because we don’t have the volunteers yet.”
Caison said there are now about 12,200 Southern Baptists trained in the various disaster relief ministries.
Prospective mud-out and child care volunteers are being asked to contact the Brotherhood offices at their respective state conventions first. Volunteers will be responsible for their own transportation to work sites and must bring their own sleeping bags and otherwise be prepared to “rough it.” Most will be sleeping at area churches.
Four mobile child care units — from Arkansas, Illinois and Ohio — plus a child care team from Missouri were already in the area as part of a much larger disaster response set to roll into its fourth week. As of May 15, nearly 300 children had been cared for and more than 383,000 meals had been provided. Daily meal counts had risen to about 20,000 per day, and that number was expected to increase over the weekend with an influx of volunteers.
Feeding units were operating May 15 at Grand Forks Air Force Base in Emerado, N.D. (Texas unit); at Northwest Technical College, East Grand Forks, Minn. (Oklahoma); and at a Minnesota Highway Department facility in Hallock, near the Canadian border (Ohio).
Those who wish to provide cleanup supplies, such as mops, buckets, pushbrooms and scoops, should contact Marilyn Pope at the Dakota Fellowship, (701) 255-7465. The fellowship has secured a warehouse in Hillsboro, N.D., to receive these items.
The Brotherhood Commission coordinates multi-state disaster response on behalf of all Southern Baptists. Disaster Relief is projected to become a ministry of new North American Mission Board which will be launched in June.

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