ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–A team of 32 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from western North Carolina was among the first to respond to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, setting up a feeding kitchen in the southern parking lot of the Pentagon the following morning for emergency workers and others affected by the crisis.
Additionally, eight units from six states left for staging areas outside of New York to await assignment. Arrangements also are being made for Southern Baptist chaplains to assist with grief counseling and pastoral care in the affected areas, both as part of the Disaster Relief units and through other official avenues.
Skip Green, disaster relief director for the North Carolina, said their Region 7 unit began setting up about 9 a.m. Sept. 12 in Washington, D.C., and planned to serve 8,000 hot meals that evening.
“Our purpose in being here is to work alongside the American Red Cross, and in this situation also the Salvation Army, to serve meals to people working here 24 hours a day,” he said.
The unit is located about 300 yards from the Pentagon, he said, in sight of the catastrophic damage on the western wall.
For the New York response, feeding units from Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky were activated Sept. 12 to travel to Raritan Baptist Church in Edison, N.J. They will be joined by communication units from Georgia and South Carolina, as well as two trailer-mounted shower units from North Carolina. A feeding unit from New York also was sent to an American Red Cross staging area in White Plains, N.Y. All of the units will await further assignments in cooperation with the American Red Cross.
Two additional shower units from Georgia and Tennessee were placed on standby, and childcare and feeding units from Ohio were placed on alert status in preparation for possible activation.
Trained Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, numbering about 30,000 nationally, consistently have been the largest provider of hot meals for distribution during American Red Cross disaster relief operations. The network is coordinated nationally by the North American Mission Board in cooperation with state conventions.
Other current Disaster Relief operations include long-term rebuilding in the wake of West Virginia flooding in July and flood cleanup efforts in Kentucky.
For more information on ongoing Disaster Relief efforts, as well as to learn how to help support financially the massive current effort in New York and Washington, visit www.namb.net.