By Tommy Deal
Unlike most tornado events, this week’s has given all of us a new perspective on response. Compared to previous tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama or elsewhere, this week we have experienced multi-state, multi-location, multi-tornado and various types of storm damage. As I have tried to get my mind around all of this, I compare this to a large hurricane event. When an event is semi-localized, we can begin to channel resources to that location. When an event is multi-faceted like this, each state’s CBF leadership must look within its own family and will be limited in what it could offer to its neighboring states.
This is when good relationships with other response organizations are so important. Below is a brief update of what we know so far. You will see collaborative efforts with other Baptist groups and United Methodists, and these are just two examples. Being part of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) both on the national, state and local levels is so important for times like these.
CBF of Arkansas – A group is out assessing needs and some debris removal assistance in Vilonia and Mayflower, Ark. They are partnering alongside of American Baptist Association Disaster Response team.
CBF of Mississippi – Still assessing needs. Relying on local constituents to report out needs. Louisiville, Miss. was hardest hit. They will have a collection of information by Friday afternoon.
Alabama CBF – The organization will assist Woodland Forest Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa to respond to damage. They are waiting on word back from a pastor in New Market, Ala., to begin work there.**
Tennessee CBF – Most of the need seems to be Lincoln County, Tenn. King’s Cross Church in Tullahoma has a staff person who lives in the area. Local officials have limited access, so they are waiting on more information from this church staff person. **This area is very close to the New Market, Ala., area. Tennessee, Alabama and national are considering a collaboration in this area.
CBF of Florida – There has been localized heavy flooding along the Gulf Coast. Barry Hudspeth, a member of FBC Pensacola reported that the church is fine and held services yesterday. He observed massive flooding along the Bay, wash out of the highway and neighborhood flooding of streets. No plans at this time.
CBF of Georgia – Whitfield County determined an EF-0 tornado occurred Monday afternoon in the northern part of the county before it went into Bradley County, Tenn. CBF/GA brokered a relationship between a disabled couple and a chainsaw team from First United Methodist Church of Dalton to assist cutting and clearing large trees.
Right now, there have been no requests for help. If and when there are requests, we will let that be known. CBF Disaster Response’s strength is in assisting persons, families and communities in long-term recovery. The best way to meet current needs is through financial contributions. With financial gifts, CBF can wire money to help meet immediate needs. You may give online at https://www.thefellowship.info/GiveNow?fund=17000 or you may mail a check to CBF, Disaster Response Ministries, PO Box 101699, Atlanta, GA 30392. Please make checks payable to CBF designate “Disaster Response-17000.” All contributions are tax deductible and will be directly used to help those affected by disasters.