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Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers Stanford Owens (left) and Jerry German of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Gloucester, Va., cut up a fallen tree at First Baptist Church in Oviedo, Fla. They are among an estimated 750 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup and shower services. Photo by Kathleen Murray
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--While Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts approach record proportions in the wake of Hurricane Charley, coordinators of the national response are calling on churches to pray fervently for the victims and volunteers dealing with the storm’s aftermath across southwest Florida.
“It's important that Southern Baptists throughout North America continue to pray about the recovery efforts in Florida,” said Jim Burton, director of the North American Mission Board’s volunteer mobilization team. “Though the national media interest will begin to wane, our operations are escalating. As we mobilize more Southern Baptist disaster volunteers into Florida, we need to pray for traveling mercies, for protection as they work and for discernment as they meet and minister to victims.”
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers Stan Shepard (left) from Eatonton, Ga., and Sidney Ethridge (right) from Warner Robbins, Ga., prepare food to be sent out by the Red Cross into the Wauchula, Fla., area. They are two of an estimated 750 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers at work in the area. Photo by Kathleen Murray
As of mid-afternoon Aug. 18, about 800 Southern Baptist volunteers representing 15 Baptist state conventions were helping thousands of displaced Floridians whose homes were destroyed or damaged by Charley’s 145-mph winds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had counted more than 88,000 homes damaged as of 6 a.m. Aug. 18, with more than 140,000 residents in need of shelter. Meanwhile, nearly 450,000 customers remain without electricity.
Mickey Caison, manager of NAMB’s Disaster Operations Center, said the current count of nearly 100 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units activated in southwest Florida could climb to as many as 175 over the next several weeks and months. Read More