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Fire cleanup becomes Calif. relief priority

FRESNO, Calif. (BP)–Donations and volunteers still are needed for the California Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief cleanup efforts after the wave of wildfires in Southern California.

While four CSBC kitchen units will be shut down as of Friday, Nov. 9, the cleanup effort is well underway, reported Don Hargis, CSBC disaster relief director.

As of Thursday, Nov. 8, volunteers working at the four kitchens had prepared nearly 200,000 meals.

Hargis noted that workers cleaned three sites on Nov. 5 where homes had been destroyed by fire at the La Jolla Indian Reservation in San Diego County. Nine homes were cleaned Nov. 6 and 7, and he expected workers to clean six on Thursday, Nov. 8. Hargis said he thought operations there would wind up by Saturday.

Workers include volunteers from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and the Samaritan’s Purse relief organization as well as “trained and untrained” California Southern Baptists, Hargis said.

He expects the California convention to be involved in the cleanup of some 40 homes within two weeks, all on Indian reservations hard hit by the fires.

In the aftermath of the 2003 Southern California wildfires, Southern Baptists were responsible for cleaning some 600 homes, at a cost of approximately $80,000. Hargis noted that though volunteers are used for the work, costs are still incurred for equipment and supplies. Although the food preparation ministry is coming to a close, he said, donations still are “desperately needed.”

Trained Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers interested in serving should contact Renee McKinley at [email protected]. Others interested in volunteering can contact Cathy Glover in Hargis’ office at 559-229-9533, ext. 255 or e-mail [email protected].

Churches and individuals can donate to the relief effort at www.csbc.com or by sending checks designated for “Disaster Relief” to CSBC, 678 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno CA 93710.
Holly Smith & Terry Barone are managing editor and editor, respectively, of the California Southern Baptist Convention.

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