ALPHARTEEA, GA (BP)–Thirty-six Southern Baptist state conventions have now been activated to provide disaster relief services in the Gulf Coast, preparing and serving hot meals, and providing hot showers, laundry units and cleanup and recovery services. Through Sept. 15, more than 5,000 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have served 2.2 million meals to victims of the hurricane.
Meanwhile, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief operation is in transition throughout the Gulf region, said Jim Burton, director of volunteer mobilization at the North American Mission Board.
“Most of the northern cities are completing their feeding operations. Some of the state mobile feeding units are being reassigned while others are being released to return home,” Burton said. “We anticipate New Orleans opening up over the weekend, or certainly by early next week.”
Burton said Southern Baptist Disaster Relief director Terry Henderson has surveyed the city to scout potential feeding sites.
“Cleanup and recovery operations continue to grow,” Burton said. “With both chainsaw crews and mud-out crews, we anticipate a steady rise in activity that will probably remain steady throughout the fall.”
Southern Baptist volunteers prepare most of the meals distributed by the American Red Cross as well as provide cleanup and recovery, communications, childcare and other vital disaster services. Southern Baptists are the third-largest disaster relief operation in the country — behind the Red Cross and The Salvation Army — with more than 30,000 trained volunteers on call for local, state and national emergencies.
Contributions to offset direct costs of the disaster relief response may be sent to state conventions, associations or churches responding to the effort, or to the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund. Donations to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief may be made online at www.namb.net/disasterrelief, or by calling 1-888-571-5895. Alternately, contributions can be mailed to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, North American Mission Board, Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.