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Southern Baptists mobilize for disaster relief efforts in Fla.

ALPHARETA, Ga. (BP)–Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers from around the United States have mobilized to aid victims and join other workers in recovery efforts in Florida.

On Aug. 13, Hurricane Charley cut a swath of destruction from the Gulf of Mexico near Punta Gorda, Fla. crossing northeast to reach the Atlantic Ocean near Daytona Beach before heading north to lash the Carolinas as a weaker tropical storm.

Fritz Wilson, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief director, described the destruction as extensive, saying, “The state was pounded by Hurricane Charley yesterday.

“There is severe damage and multiple power outages across the state along the entire path of the storm.”

The Florida Division of Emergency Management confirmed that 13 people were killed and the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated that 50,000 people were in shelters and another million were without power services. Florida officials have requested that FEMA provide catastrophic housing assistance for 10,000 households.

Wilson said that Florida Baptist Disaster Relief and SBC Disaster Relief are “mobilizing units from across the country to come to provide assistance,” and he announced assignments for the following units that have activated for “heart-to-hands” ministry to victims and other relief workers:

Fla. — Two feeding units are activated and assigned to North Point, Fla., working from South Biscayne Baptist Church, which will serve as the Florida command post.

Tenn. — A feeding and a cleanup unit are activated and assigned to McGregor Baptist Church, Fort Myers, Fla.

Ga. — Feeding, communication, and recovery units are activated and assigned to Wauchula, Fla. Announcement of the host church site is pending.

Miss./Ala. — A combined feeding unit/team is activated and assigned to Arcadia, Fla. Announcement of the host church site is pending.

La. — A feeding unit is activated and staged in Mobile, Ala., awaiting assignment.

Ala. — Feeding, shower, and communication units are en route: The shower unit will be sent up in Arcadia, Fla; location assignments for the two feeding units and the communication unit are pending.

Additionally, two shower units from the SBC’s North American Mission Board are en route; one will be set up in North Port and the location of the second unit is to be determined.

Financial donations can be sent to: Hurricane Charley Relief, Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207. Currently, the disaster relief operations are not prepared to receive collected items of any type.

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