SBC disaster relief response expands in wake of Charley

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)-Four days after Hurricane Charley ripped through Florida, Southern Baptist disaster relief efforts continued to build with nearly 100 cleanup and recovery teams activated, representing more than a dozen Baptist state conventions.

Mickey Caison, manager of the Disaster Operations Center at the North American Mission Board, said that as of early afternoon, Aug. 17, Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers had prepared more than 30,000 meals.

Nearly 800 Southern Baptist volunteers from across the country, Caison said, were participating in more than 350 disaster relief projects throughout southwest Florida in the wake of Hurricane Charley. State officials attribute 19 deaths to the storm and more than $11 billion in property damage.

Caison said Southern Baptist volunteers are providing both physical and spiritual care to Floridians during the time of crisis. For example, he said, a Southern Baptist volunteer from Mississippi had the opportunity to pray publicly with a local sheriff at a county emergency operations center.

"I believe God is truly being glorified by the words and actions of Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers serving sacrificially throughout central and southwest Florida," Caison said.

Baptist state conventions in Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas activated additional shower units, mobile kitchens and chainsaw & recovery teams, Aug. 17, for assignment to Florida sites including Orlando, Ft. Myers, Bartow, and Punta Gorda -- a small city in the midst of a densely populated retirement area and a primary recipient of Charley's wrath.

The Missouri Baptist Convention activated a mobile shower unit for a newly established disaster relief post at First Baptist Church in South Daytona Beach. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina activated six chainsaw/recovery teams for service at South Daytona Beach, and the South Carolina Baptist Convention activated a mobile kitchen unit as well.

The Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia convention activated three chainsaw/recovery teams for the newly established disaster relief post at Killarney Baptist Church in Orlando, and a mobile shower unit for South Biscayne Baptist Church in North Port, Fla.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board activated two chainsaw/recovery teams for First Baptist Church in Poinciana, Fla., as well as a mobile shower unit at South Biscayne Baptist Church in North Port, Fla.

The Georgia Baptist Convention activated a fourth chainsaw/recovery team for First Baptist Church in Wauchula, Fla., and the South Carolina Baptist Convention activated a fourth chainsaw/recovery team for Lake Wales Baptist Church in Lake Wales, Fla.

The North American Mission Board also activated two more mobile shower units for South Biscayne Baptist Church in North Port, Fla. -- the site of the Incident Command Post for the southern region's disaster relief response. Additionally, North Carolina Baptist Men activated a laundry unit for McGregor Baptist Church in Ft. Myers, Fla.

The following state conventions remain on standby for activation: Maryland/Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania/South Jersey, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

Contributions to offset direct costs of the response may be sent to state conventions, associations or churches responding to the effort, or to the North American Mission Board. NAMB contributions may be made online at www.namb.net/disasterrelief or mailed to: North American Mission Board,

P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, Ga., 30368-6543

For regular updates on Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts, visit www.namb.net/dr.


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