August 21, 2014
Hurricane Sandy Response
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'Power of the local church' on display in NYC
"The aid that we're providing will open up the opportunity to share the Gospel for at least the next couple of years."
-- Pastor Freddy T. Wyatt
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- The elderly lady was afraid to open the door. Alone in the dark in her apartment on the 23rd floor of the Fulton government housing complex in Chelsea Park days after Hurricane Sandy struck, she was not accustomed to people helping.
Pastor: Storm connects churches with people
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- Hurricane Sandy, which now has killed at least 96 people on the East Coast, also brought with it opportunities for churches to connect with people in their communities, a church planter on Long Island, N.Y., said.
Baptist post-Sandy commitment to reach 400,000 meals per day
HARRISBURG, Pa. (BP) -- In an unprecedented move for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, all large capacity mobile kitchens in the fleet east of the Rocky Mountains have been asked to mobilize in response to Hurricane Sandy. The goal is to begin preparing a minimum of 400,000 meals a day by Monday, Nov. 5.
"As we worked through the planning and continued to receive reports about the need, the conviction came on me that Southern Baptists need to step out in faith and mobilize now," said North American Mission Board Disaster Relief executive director Fritz Wilson. "I contacted [NAMB] president Kevin Ezell and shared the conviction of our area command team and he agreed."
On Thursday NAMB trustees authorized the entity to cover the travel expense for state conventions that needed the assistance in mobilizing their DR teams to the region. During the height of SBDR response to Hurricane Katrina, volunteers prepared 425,000 meals per day. On Thursday SBDR volunteers from Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina were serving in New York and New Jersey, along with volunteers from the affected states. SBDR volunteers from those states and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, Maryland-Delaware, New England, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and West Virginia were preparing up to 150,000 meals and were working with chainsaw and recovery units. The New York Baptist convention's kitchen was on its way to Staten Island where volunteers will begin serving meals Friday. "Staten Island is a high priority," said NAMB DR response coordinator Eddie Blackmon, who is stationed at national American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Sandy's storm devastation 'unprecedented,' leader says in mobilizing Baptist volunteers
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- Nearly 90 people have been confirmed dead in the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the number of people who remain unaccounted for is unknown, officials said Nov. 1.
Baptists to see 'high-capacity' Sandy response in N.Y. & N.J.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (BP) -- Wind, flood, fire and snow have combined to displace thousands of residents in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and West Virginia. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are on their way to the hardest-hit areas in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, bringing help and hope in the midst of crisis.
"We have probably not had a single-event response request of this level since Hurricane Katrina."
-- Fritz Wilson, DR exec dir
Southern Baptist church planter Wayne Burton in Jersey City, N.J., is among the millions living in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Burton and his wife Erin moved to the city several years ago to put down roots and begin planting a church. As the storm approached, the Burtons prepared their apartment before evacuating to a nearby hotel. Returning home early Tuesday, they were met with extensive flooding that had reached into their apartment and destroyed most of their belongings. "As Southern Baptist Disaster Relief we have a hope and a ministry" to come alongside the Burtons as they labor with Jersey City residents in the daunting recovery that lies ahead, Bruce Poss, DR coordinator for the North American Mission Board. Poss is the Southern Baptist liaison with the Federal Emergency Management Agency serving in Washington, D.C., for the response to Hurricane Sandy. "This is our time to do what God has commissioned us to do." SBDR units from across the country were heading toward staging areas in New York and New Jersey Wednesday and assessments and requests for assistance were being made. One of the largest requests, for as many as 100,000 meals per day, has come from New York City.
Baptist worker returns to a hurting New York
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- The death toll from Hurricane Sandy had risen to at least 50 people Wednesday as 6 million electric customers remained without power in the Northeast, crippled by damaged infrastructures and hazardous floodwater. Amid the devastation, Southern Baptists rallied to help.
Feeding unit begins long-term Baptist relief on East Coast
SALISBURY, Md. (BP) -- Before Hurricane Sandy ever made landfall, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were beginning the long effort to aid the East Coast by preparing meals for evacuees in Salisbury, Md. A feeding unit of the Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware was active Monday (Oct. 29) at James Bennett High School there. Maryland-Delaware DR director Ellen Udovich said the unit responded to the request from the American Red Cross to provide assistance to evacuees in advance of the storm. The SBDR volunteers already had served 300 meals on their first day of operation. And they were back at work Tuesday morning serving breakfast after the storm passed. Another Maryland-Delaware feeding unit was activated and preparing to serve meals at Middle River Baptist Church near Baltimore. They will join units activating from a dozen states deploying across the hard-hit Northeast. North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell told Baptist Press, "In addition to the devastation this storm is causing, the sheer size of it is going to make it very expensive in terms of relief and cleanup." Ezell voiced gratitude "for all of the Southern Baptist volunteers who make our disaster relief efforts possible. This is a time for every Southern Baptist to be praying and to also consider donating to our disaster relief fund." SBDR established an area command center for the response on Monday at the Pennsylvania-South Jersey Baptist convention mission house in Harrisburg, Pa. On site less than 30 minutes, area commander for the response, Mark Gauthier, reminded SBDR volunteers why they serve. "Our purpose is to meet the spiritual and physical needs of those impacted by disaster," said Gauthier, DR director for the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state convention. SBDR area command is implementing the deployment of mobile field kitchens to northern and southern New Jersey, Gauthier reported. The current plan is for the kitchens to be operational by Thursday. Assessments are still being made for responses to other affected areas, Gauthier said.
N.Y. pastors begin checking on families
"New York is an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel with others in this time of need."
-- Freeman Field
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- Hurricane Sandy caused 39 U.S. deaths, record flooding, massive power outages and extensive devastation as it roared ashore Monday night near New York City.
Cuban Baptists rally to aid Sandy's victims
SANTIAGO, Cuba (BP) -- Hurricane Sandy's torrential rains and 105 mph winds slammed eastern Cuba Oct. 25, killing 11 people, among them a couple from First Baptist Church in the hard-hit coastal city of Santiago.
Hurricane Sandy in focus for Baptist DR
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- As cities up and down the East Coast shut down and prepare for the worst from Hurricane Sandy, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leaders are preparing for a large-scale SBDR response once the storm clears.
Caribbean hurricane assessment launched
SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba (BP) -- Baptists in the Caribbean spent the weekend assessing damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, which left at least 62 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless before it moved on toward eastern coast of the United States.
Hurricane Sandy could impact 60M people on eastern seaboard
NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- Hurricane Sandy threatened to impact 60 million Americans Oct. 29 as it churned toward the Eastern Seaboard with winds exceeding 90 mph, causing President Obama to declare a state of emergency in the nation's capital and in states from North Carolina to Connecticut. "People will die in this storm," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley bluntly warned as he urged residents to evacuate or hunker down ahead of the potentially historic storm, which was forecast to make landfall Monday night or early Tuesday along the New Jersey coast. As of Monday afternoon, 116,000 customers were without power in seven states, reported. Service on mass transit systems was halted in New York City, Washington and Philadelphia ahead of the storm, thousands of airline flights were canceled, classes were called off for more than 2 million public school students, and government offices were closed. The New York Stock Exchange closed Monday and announced it would remain closed Tuesday, marking the first time it was closed for a weather event since Hurricane Gloria in 1985, CNN reported. Obama, along with Mitt Romney, canceled campaign events because of the approaching natural disaster. "At this stage, everybody is confident that the staging process, the prepositioning of resources, commodities, equipment that are going to be needed to respond to this storm are in place," the president said after meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Southern Baptists were among those assembling resources for a prompt response to the hurricane. Baptist disaster relief directors and volunteers in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were on alert, officials said, expecting help from Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and other states. Officials expected the hurricane to bring flooding, power outages and fallen trees. In the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, where officials were expecting a direct hit from Sandy, volunteers were expected to emerge after the storm, disaster relief director Karlene Campbell said. "Because Pennsylvania/South Jersey is getting a direct hit from this, a lot of our volunteers are looking to their own welfare until the storm passes, of course with their property, home and family ..."

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