SBC Life Articles

Southern Baptist Compassion Disaster Relief: More Trained Volunteers Needed


More than 2,000 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are engaged in an ongoing response across North America. Other volunteers remain involved in relief work in Japan and Haiti. Because of the unprecedented number of disasters this year, SBDR leaders are signaling a need for more trained volunteers and are offering ongoing training opportunities.

NAMB president Kevin Ezell asked Southern Baptists to prayerfully consider filling in the gap.

"We have faced unprecedented heat and wildfires, massive outbreaks of tornadoes, and flooding not seen in more than 100 years in the Northeast," Ezell said. "There are active DR responses ongoing across the nation and there is still the need to go the next mile.

"I know many DR volunteers have already used up their available vacation time to minister. Southern Baptists have always given of themselves sacrificially and I know they will again. We have helped thousands of people this year and seen hundreds come to faith in Christ. Now we need the next group of trained volunteers to step up and say, 'I will go.'"

• In Texas, wildfires on a scale not seen in living memory forced the activation of hundreds of DR volunteers across the state.

Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Saginor said the Bastrop County fire has destroyed the most homes ever in a single wildfire in Texas, eclipsing the previous record in April near Possum Kingdom Lake.

Pennsylvania-South Jersey has a feeding unit serving in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, according to Mike Morgan, North American Mission Board disaster operations center manager. That unit was requested by the American Red Cross and was set-up in mid-September. A Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia feeding unit arrived the same week, providing a combined capacity of 20,000 meals a day.

• Iowa has activated mud-out units in the Sioux City area and one Illinois team has arrived for service there. "The ground is stable enough to allow cleanup and mud-out to begin," Morgan said.

• In Minot, North Dakota, mud-out operations concluded for the winter at the end of September, Morgan reported. Volunteers will be needed in the spring when work resumes.

• West Point Baptist Collegiate Ministry director Dwain Gregory, with thirty-five cadets, participated in the New York training, along with New York DR director Mike Flannery, who serves as the Frontier Baptist Association director of missions in Buffalo.

"Our volunteers are great and have responded well. We have trainings ongoing to help put more volunteers in the field," said Morgan, a volunteer and member of First Baptist Church in Dade City, Florida. Morgan said anyone interested in becoming a trained SBDR volunteer can contact their respective state conventions.

Donations to disaster response efforts by state Baptist conventions can be made by contacting state convention offices. To donate to NAMB's disaster relief fund, go to www.namb.net and click the "donate now" button.


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