FORT MYERS, Fla. – As Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) nears 500,000 meals prepared in the wake of Hurricane Ian, volunteers have completed approximately 730 recovery jobs for homeowners.
“As Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams from across the nation have continued serving in Florida, it has been encouraging to see the impact volunteers are having on these local communities,” said Coy Webb, crisis response director for Send Relief. “We, at Send Relief, are thrilled to continue providing support for these SBDR volunteers as they meet needs and share the hope of Jesus.”
So far, SBDR volunteers have seen 45 people profess faith in Christ.
Eleven local Florida Baptist churches across the impacted area have opened their properties for SBDR volunteers to stay and provide a base of operations. Volunteers with SBDR from Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Virginia and Texas have served in the response so far.
Those trained SBDR volunteers have provided tear out, clean up and mold remediation of flooded homes, removed debris, provided chainsaw work for downed trees and installed temporary roofing.
“I like Florida Baptist DR because it’s a way to serve. You learn quite a lot of stuff. It’s a blessing to be out here, a blessing to be helping people,” Florida SBDR volunteer Liam Rigdon said in a video for Florida Baptists. “Our teams are going out and helping [homeowners] and really letting them know who Jesus Christ is, helping people who can’t take care of themselves when something bad happens, like a storm.”
N.C. Baptists have been assisting hurricane survivors with a task many take for granted—doing laundry. Their SBDR team sent a laundry unit and volunteers who are able to wash and dry more than 100 loads of laundry a day.
“People won’t necessarily remember your name, but they will remember that someone cared enough even in the midst of a disaster,” said N.C. Baptist volunteer Valerie Cook.
Send Relief, the Southern Baptist compassion ministry that is a joint effort between the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board, has supported those SBDR efforts through resources and grants.
So far, Send Relief has sent three semi-truck loads of supplies that include temporary roofing, Shockwave mold prevention, construction materials, roofing materials, protective suits and other safety wear.
“This is the Cooperative Program and the cooperative work of who we are in action, as multiple state conventions come together to aid in this response,” said David Coggins, state director for Florida SBDR. “It starts with Coy Webb and the relationship we have with Send Relief and how that relationship has strengthened to be the glue that binds our efforts together.”