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NAMB releases $150,000 to help tornado victims

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board has released $150,000 in disaster assistance funds to help victims of May 3’s deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma.
The money will be used primarily for $500 grants to individual families through local churches, said Jim Burton, director of volunteer mobilization for NAMB.
“The local churches are screening the families, verifying the needs, and the checks eventually will be delivered to them to help them from anything ranging to apartment deposits to food and anything else they need,” Burton said.
The NAMB funds are in addition to another $150,000 in disaster assistance funds released by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma last week, Burton said.
Burton said the expenditure is the largest amount released at one time since disaster relief became the responsibility of NAMB at its formation in 1997.
“This is just a first step, and we anticipate many requests,” he said, noting damage assessment is not complete and long-term rebuilding efforts likely will be extensive. “We’re into a catastrophic type of response. It’s going to take an extraordinary means to help these people get their lives back together and minister to them in the name of Christ.”
Randy Singer, executive vice president of the North American Mission Board, said, “It is our privilege to stand with our state partners in Oklahoma and Kansas who have ministered so faithfully during this time of crisis.
“The massive disaster relief efforts in those states in the wake of the recent tornado damage is a testament to the mission heart and cooperative spirit of Southern Baptists,” Singer added. “By helping to meet the dire physical needs of those most severely affected, we pray that this tangible demonstration of the love of Christ will prepare many hearts to receive the good news of the gospel of Christ.”
Southern Baptist disaster relief units, meanwhile, had provided more than 22,250 meals to storm victims and relief workers in Oklahoma as of May 7, according to Mickey Caison, national coordinator of Southern Baptist disaster relief and an associate in adult volunteer mobilization for NAMB.
An Oklahoma feeding unit is currently operating at First Baptist Church of Moore, and another Oklahoma unit in Stroud was just closed Sunday. Additionally, a Texas feeding unit is based at First Southern Baptist Church of Del City, and an Arkansas unit is at Graceway Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. An additional feeding unit from Louisiana arrived in Mulhall May 9.
In Haysville, Kan., feeding units from Kansas/Nebraska and Missouri had prepared more than 3,000 meals as of May 7, and a Texas unit that responded to a related tornado in Dekalb, Texas, had prepared 973 meals.
Contributions to the NAMB disaster assistance fund may be sent to Disaster Relief — Midwest Tornadoes, North American Mission Board, 4200 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022.

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  • James Dotson