NEW YORK CITY (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units escaped significant damage from the nor’easter that dumped up to a foot of snow in various areas of the Northeast.
All SBDR operations were suspended for the duration of the storm Wednesday afternoon, but volunteers were back at work Thursday morning.
On Long Island the Kentucky kitchen number four had a tent roof collapse, but there were no injuries. The unit was operational again within hours. The South Carolina and Pennsylvania-South Jersey teams serving at Hammonton, N.J., served 4,750 lunches on Thursday.
“The snow was not as bad as it could have been,” said North American Mission Board DR executive director Fritz Wilson. “Other than the Kentucky tent, we did not have any real issues. Everyone weathered the storm and is ready to get back to work.”
Perhaps the most notable damage involving Southern Baptists from Wednesday’s storm was that to the home of Metropolitan New York Baptist Association executive director George Russ.
“I was on my way home from work,” Russ said. “It is usually about an hour, but with the storm it took more than four. I called my daughter Amanda from the train and asked if she could go feed my dog. She lives around the corner.”
Amanda was in Russ’ home when the tree fell on the house.
“I’m thankful she was not injured,” Russ said. “She is seven and a half months pregnant. But she was okay.
“The tree was a 40-foot pine. It snapped over my house. It destroyed my front porch, and did roof damage on the front and rear of the house. Gutters, too.”
SBDR volunteers from Tennessee and Texas arrived at Russ’ home Thursday to remove the debris and put tarps over the roof damage.
“These volunteers have everything just about cleaned up,” Russ said. “They are eating lunch in my kitchen. They will have tarps in place so the house will be okay until we can get the repairs completed. The insurance adjuster said it would be Monday at the earliest before they are here.”
Russ said things in New York are going as well as can be expected with the recovery efforts. His office is now the New York incident command headquarters. NAMB DR team leader Mickey Caison heads the effort.
“There are challenges here in the city,” Russ said. “Southern Baptists do not have a lot of churches in the city, so finding places for volunteers to stay has been tough. But things are turning the corner.”
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leaders received praise from the chief of the Federal Emergency Management Administration via conference call Wednesday for their response to Hurricane Sandy.
“Thanks to everyone,” said Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator. “It has been a busy time. The President and the rest of the team appreciate Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. This will not be a short response. We still have a lot to do. Until people are back in their homes, Southern Baptist [volunteers] will be needed. Thank you for all that Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has done.”
Joe Conway writes for the North American Mission Board. Southern Baptists and others who want to donate to the disaster relief operations can contact their state conventions or, via the Web, contribute to NAMB’s disaster relief fund at www.namb.net/disaster-relief-donations. Other ways to donate are to call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.” Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).