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Financial gifts needed as Southern Baptists respond to December tornado outbreak

Eddie Talley of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief works to set up a temporary generator to provide power to Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Ky., on Monday (Dec. 13). The church had become a hub for volunteer efforts and was in desperate need of electricity before hosting meals for those in need in the surrounding neighborhoods. Photos by Morgan Bass

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – In the aftermath of horrific tornadoes that ripped through several mid-South states over the weekend, Southern Baptists began coordinating a response to bring hope and healing to those impacted.

Some local Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) trained volunteer teams provided immediate response the day after storms struck overnight Friday and early Saturday morning (Dec. 11), while state and national leaders began assessing the need and coordinating a large-scale response.

For those unable to volunteer, the next best option is to donate financial resources to the recovery efforts, said Coy Webb, Send Relief’s crisis response director who served as SBDR director for Kentucky Baptists for 13 years before transitioning to Send Relief in 2020.

“Financial donations are able to meet the specific needs of those who are hurting, assist in long-term recovery efforts and stimulate the local economy of the affected area,” Webb said. “Sending a monetary gift can sometimes seem impersonal, but it is often the best way to meet survivors’ needs.”

Churches large and small announced over the weekend their intentions to give to Send Relief and SBDR. Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston announced on Twitter its intention to give $50,000 to Send Relief. Jeff Gordon, pastor of Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., also described his church’s intention to donate $5,000 to North Carolina’s disaster relief ministry and to Send Relief.

Already, Send Relief, the compassion ministry of Southern Baptists, has provided $75,000 that will enable local SBDR partners to acquire the essential supplies like roofing materials, food and water for those in need as well as assistance with debris cleanup.

A Send Relief semi-truck will be delivering roofing materials and emergency meals to at least four recovery sites in Kentucky later in the week, sites that Kentucky SBDR leadership will use as hubs for the response as out-of-state SBDR teams will begin pouring in to assist in the recovery.

Southern Baptists are on the frontlines of the response any time disaster strikes. Thousands of trained SBDR volunteers can activate at a moment’s notice to begin feeding survivors, repairing damage and ministering to those picking up the pieces.

“Our trained SBDR volunteers are able to go into disaster areas and provide specialized assistance due to their training and, oftentimes, years of experience,” Webb said. “From preparing thousands of meals in mobile kitchens to providing chainsaw work to remove downed trees, trained SBDR volunteers are equipped to provide the help survivors need to endure what is often the most difficult days they’ve experienced.”

Gifts to Send Relief or to state SBDR teams provide those volunteers with the resources they need to begin helping right away. To give to Send Relief, visit their website to make a donation. Send Relief also maintains a list of state Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organizations where individuals can donate and seek information about how to volunteer.