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N.C. anticipates weeks of continued Matthew recovery

[SLIDESHOW=43683,43684,43685]CARY, N.C. (BP) — Scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of 1999’s Hurricane Floyd are playing out across a 250-mile stretch of North Carolina. Already North Carolina Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, and those from seven other states, have served Hurricane Matthew survivors by preparing more than 400,000 meals from six SBDR kitchens.

North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief director Gaylon Moss said some of the same areas affected by Floyd were hard hit again by Matthew. Moss said volunteer days served in North Carolina have already surpassed 7,000.

“The extensive nature of the response, the scale and scope, are larger,” Moss said. “From the northeast corner of the state, to the southwest, we are serving across 200-plus miles. We have 10 clean up and recovery sites working and will open another today. The Baptist General [Association] of Virginia is coordinating another clean-up site for us.”

In addition to volunteers from North Carolina and Virginia, Moss said SBDR volunteers from Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania-South Jersey, Southern Baptists of Texas and Texas Baptist Men are also serving there. Kansas-Nebraska also sent a laundry unit that is in use in the state.

“At the height of the need for hot meals, we had six kitchens operating,” Moss said. “That is down to two now. We surpassed 400,000 meals prepared yesterday.”

In the overall SBDR response to Matthew, volunteers from 15 states have served. More than 575,000 meals have been prepared. More than 4,000 chaplain contacts have been made. There also have been 284 gospel presentations reported and 88 decisions for faith in Christ. To date, 815 chainsaw jobs have been completed, along with 104 heavy debris removal jobs. David Melber, North American Mission Board vice president for Send Relief, expressed gratitude for the work volunteers have already accomplished in the response.

“We are thankful that the heart of Southern Baptists for service is demonstrated in the action of thousands of volunteers and church members assisting their neighbors in the wake of Hurricane Matthew,” Melber said. “As with the response to Louisiana flooding, the needs related to Matthew will be long-term. We are confident and thankful Southern Baptists will continue to serve until all of those needs are met.”

Long-term in North Carolina, Moss expects the needs to continue for the foreseeable future. “Recovery and clean up, mostly mud out, will be the biggest need for the next several weeks,” Moss said. “We need volunteers for mud-out, tear-out and clean-up [projects].”

Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visit donations.namb.net/dr-donations. For phone donations, call 866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state disaster relief ministries.

Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers — including chaplains — and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained disaster relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

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  • Joe Conway