Baptist are known for a lot of things. Fried chicken. We love to argue. Great preachers. Best seminaries in the world. We love to argue. (Did I say that already?). Covered dish dinners. And a lot more. But one thing we all agree on as Baptist is we have a really great disaster relief response program in place. The people in the yellow shirts.
In our response by giving aid to areas hit hard, Baptists get there early, we hang around late, and we care for the Spiritual and physical well being of those hit by floods, earthquakes, fires, campus shootings, hurricanes, twisters, or whatever may come. Often, the semi trucks are on the edge of the areas being hit ready to go in once authorities allow, even while the weather is still pouring it on. And we hang around … we still have teams in Puerto Rico and other areas from awhile back. Look for the yellow shirts, you’ll see them on the ground serving wherever needed.
Last week, the ERLC (Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) posted a great article sharing some facts about our Disaster Relief Ministry. Today, I want to summarize these (see here for the full article).
– SBDR (Southern Baptist Disaster Relief) has gone on for over 50 years. It dates back to 1968 when Hurricane Beulah hit Texas. It has grown to the third largest disaster relief organization behind the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Nearly 70,000 have been trained to handle and help in a relief effort.
– Some of the efforts we do are sending portable kitchens, shower and laundry units, feeding facility, and nursery units. This is over and above the food, water, supplies, and volunteers like clean up crews sent. After Florence, at least nine states are involved in sending aid to storm victims and emergency workers. They were there at Katrina and at ground zero after 9-11.
– They keep stocked warehouses and semi trucks at the Appalachian Ministry Center in Ashland, KY. Food, water, chainsaws, roofing material, generators, Crisis Response Buckets, everything that might help. Before Florence made landfall, trailers were on the road to areas throughout the Carolinas. This is coordinated through the state conventions, NAMB and the Send Relief efforts.
– Though we work alongside FEMA and other organizations, funding comes straight from the churches through the Cooperative Program giving and special offerings.
– The Send Relief website (sendrelief.org) provides resources to churches and individuals to prepare, pray for, and more information on how you can get involved.
Stats from 2017 … over a million hours of volunteer hours, over 3 million meals served, over 70000 showers provided, over 32,000 loads of laundry done, over 4,200 gospel presentations, over 800 professions of faith.
So keep this ministry in your prayers and know this … all donations are appreciated and make a difference in the short run and for eternity.