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Unprecedented proportions reached in disaster relief efforts

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Southern Baptists continue to respond with more volunteers and resources to areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The scope of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts has expanded to include water purification, child care, additional chain saw and recovery crews and 50 chaplains deployed to affected areas. Southern Baptist relief volunteers serving in Katrina’s aftermath number 5,000 from 33 state conventions. More than 750,000 meals have been prepared by 56 mobile kitchens.

Giving to Southern Baptist relief efforts for Katrina has topped an unprecedented $2 million. The North American Mission Board will release funds to affected state Baptist conventions as they determine the needs in each state. The mission board already is funding ministry needs of disaster relief units on the field including more than $100,000 from Southern Baptist hunger funds.

Also, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 7, NAMB will provide a daily brief webcast highlighting disaster relief operations. The briefing will be posted by 5 p.m. weekdays at www.namb.net/dr. The website also will include statistics and downloadable materials to inform Southern Baptists pastors and churches of relief efforts and needs.

Efforts of the thousands of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers impress even those familiar with the ministry.

“We have known of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams for years and have personally known some of their members,” said Don Mackens of Hattiesburg, Miss. “But this is the first time we have seen them in action or needed them. We cannot begin to express our gratitude for all they are doing to help Mississippi recover from the aftermath of Katrina.

“They were first on the scene and seem to be everywhere, even in areas where no one else has gone yet,” Mackens said. “What a testimony you have been for our Lord. It makes us proud to be Southern Baptist.”

Following is the latest information about where Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units or operations have been activated in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Tennessee:

Louisiana — Horseshoe Drive Baptist Church, Alexandria; Florida Boulevard Baptist Church, Jefferson Baptist Church, Oak Crest Baptist Church and Salvation Army, Baton Rouge; First Baptist Church, Bogalusa; Main Parish Building and First Baptist Church, Covington; Lamar Dixon Center, Gonzales; Eual Landry Middle School, Hahnville; Woodland Park Baptist Church, Hammond; Christ Baptist Church, Houma; Veterans Parkway, Lake Charles Civic Center, Kenner; Lake Charles; Grace Memorial Baptist Church, Slidell; Alario Center, Westwego; Fellowship Baptist Church, Prairieville; and Cajun Dome, Lafayette.

Mississippi — First Baptist Church, Bay Vista Baptist Church and Stafford Middle School, Biloxi; Camp Garaywa, Clinton; First Baptist Church, Columbia; Main Street Baptist Church and Salvation Army, Hattiesburg; First Baptist Church, Laurel; Salvation Army and Piggly Wiggly, Long Beach; First Baptist Church, Lucedale; First Baptist Church, Magee; First Baptist Church, McComb; First Baptist Church, Meridian; Monticello Baptist Church, Monticello; First Baptist Church, Natchez; First Baptist Church, Pascagoula; First Baptist Church, Picayune; Prentiss Baptist Church, Prentiss; First Baptist Church, Tylertown; Henry Roft Activity Center, Wiggins; Pass Road Baptist Church, Gulfport; and First Baptist Church, Leakesville.

Outside Louisiana and Mississippi are the following operations: Moffitt Road Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala.; Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Orange, Texas; and Memphis, Tenn.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief — the third-largest volunteer relief organization in the United States — prepares the majority of meals distributed through the American Red Cross in a disaster. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has more than 600 mobile disaster response units and more than 30,000 trained volunteers. State Baptist conventions recruit and train volunteers from Southern Baptist churches. NAMB coordinates multi-state and international responses by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

Contributions to offset direct costs of the disaster relief response may be sent to state conventions, associations or churches responding to the effort, and to the North American Mission Board. NAMB contributions may be made online at www.namb.net or mailed to the North American Mission Board, Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Donations also may be made by calling 1-888-571-5895.

    About the Author

  • Tim Yarbrough