BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP)–The destruction and heartache from a series of tornadoes that hit several Tennessee counties and claimed 12 lives April 7 sent Tennessee Baptist disaster relief teams into immediate action.
David Acres, Tennessee Baptists’ disaster relief director, said teams are continuing to help victims of the storms.
Local Baptist associations as well as the state convention responded with feeding, cleanup and chain saw teams and with laundry and shower units, Acres told the Baptist and Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
First Baptist Church in Gallatin, just north of Nashville, is serving as the Tennessee Baptist disaster relief headquarters for the response as well as being designated as a Red Cross aid station.
A feeding unit from Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, with a team of 15 volunteers, began cooking April 10 at the Gallatin church. The team was asked by the Red Cross to prepare around 600 meals for lunch on Monday.
Bledsoe Baptist Association also responded by coordinating a disaster relief center at First Baptist, assembling food and donations for those who sustained loss.
Volunteers also are using a shower unit from the Alabama Baptist Convention’s disaster relief team and a laundry unit from First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., both staged at First Baptist in Gallatin.
Chain saw teams from several associations and churches were involved in cleanup efforts over the weekend, Acres added.
An F3 tornado claimed nine lives in a path across Dickson, Cheatham, Davidson and Sumner counties, while two F1 tornadoes claimed three lives as they crossed Warren County and other parts of the Cumberland Plateau region.
First Baptist Hendersonville sent around 65 trained disaster relief workers out for cleanup efforts on Saturday and around 90 volunteers on Sunday, Chris Davis, the church’s minister of missions, reported.
“We spent most of our time just going into homes and pulling out possessions for the homeowners,” Davis told the Baptist and Reflector, Tennessee Baptists’ newsjournal. Several other churches from the community and surrounding areas also came to assist in the “sort and save” project.
“We all are working very hard,” said Mike Pennington, director of missions for the Bledsoe Baptist Association. “Now the work orders are coming in for cleanup and rebuild.”
Volunteer teams also worked in the Crossville area to clear trees from country roads and homeowners’ properties, Roy Davis, director of missions for Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association, reported.
Lantana Road Baptist Church in Crossville served as a Red Cross emergency shelter there.
In Warren County where three people died from injuries received in an F1 tornado, Roger Stacy, director of missions for the Central Baptist Association based in McMinnville, said he and two local disaster relief chaplains worked in the Green Hills community by talking to residents and doing crisis intervention where one of the deaths occurred.
Marcia Knox is a writer for the Baptist and Reflector, newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.