The following post is from Tommy Deal, disaster response coordinator for CBF of Georgia.
CBF is responding. We are working through local churches, state/regional CBFs and partners. We are communicating with them even as I type this, and plans are being formulated. One thing we have learned from Katrina, tornadoes, wildfires, Isaac and now Sandy, is we are not “first in” responders, nor even “second in.” But, we will be the last ones out. What that means is that our people are more likely to assist in the “recovery” phase. This is a vital part of the efforts.
CBF is a major player among National and State VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters) and work in concert with the entire response efforts.
First, Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of Cuba and The Bahamas, where CBF has significant partnerships through CBF of Florida. CBF and CBF of Florida have provided funds to purchase 8,000 pounds of food for the people of Santiago de Cuba.
From Ray Johnson, Coordinator CBF of Florida, “Right now, one of our own is on the ground delivering that food. Pray for her! CBF Florida is receiving clothes, particularly children’s clothing, which will be distributed to our churches on Abaco where some families lost everything in the storm. They are collecting requested items and are working on an airlift to deliver to Abaco, Bahamas, next week.
Second, even before Sandy’s path was known, CBF U.S. Disaster Response Coordinator, Charles Ray, was in touch with state/regional CBF contacts pledging our prayers and assistance. After she came ashore, the same contacts were made to determine needs.
Kent Benfield, Disaster Response Coordinator (DRC) for CBF North Carolina reported that the Outer Banks has flooding and other damage but felt CBF assets should go elsewhere. Rob Fox, Field Coordinator for CBF Virginia, reported that the Tidewater and Eastern Shore experienced the worse of the storm. He and Will Baker, pastor of Drmmondtown Baptist Church on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, are assessing needs there.
Fox reports, “Will and I have been in touch, and we are working on a potential plan to connect with local church teams and put our CBFVA mission trailer to use on the Eastern Shore.”
Alan Sherouse, pastor of Metro Baptist Church in New York City, has reported its facilities and congregation are fine. However, they are preparing to engage ministering to their “neighborhood.”
Sherouse reports, “We want you – our wider network of friends – to know that we at Metro/RMM weathered Sandy. Our congregation made it safely through the storm. Our church building held up fairly well. There was no flooding in the basement and no damage to the roof farm, though there was some gutter damage that we will be looking to repair. We continue to remember those dealing with the frustrations of power loss and especially pray for those in the more devastated parts of the City. City officials are calling parts of the storm and damage ‘unprecedented.’
“We are actively assessing how we can most effectively be a part of the disaster response efforts. In the short-term, we are opening our sanctuary as a daytime shelter for anyone who needs power, internet, a cell phone charge or a hot meal. We are also teaming with area partners to provide meals for a local housing community that is without power. Additionally, we continue our regular direct services of food, clothing and toiletry distribution.
“In the long-term, we are communicating with area agencies and developing a strategy for response. A great deal of federal attention is being directed to NYC, so many immediate needs are being met by professionalized services. As the weeks pass, there will surely be pockets that are overlooked. It will take some time to know best how to respond, but we are working with other organizations that are poised to identify needs in the devastated parts of the city. In our own neighborhood, we will especially be assessing how the aftermath of Sandy will impact the demand for food and clothing. As the needs continue to come into focus, we will let you know specific modes of response.”
The first ‘plea’ we can put out is to ask for monetary contributions. We would ask you and your church to begin to GIVE to CBF’s Disaster Response ministries. You can give on-line, https://www.thefellowship.info/Give/Donate.aspx?fund=88603, or send to CBF, 2930 Flowers Road, South, Atlanta, GA 30341 and designate “Disaster Response.” It takes a lot of financial resources to activate plans and to get the resources needed in affected areas.
Already CBF has sent $5,000 to aid CUBA which was first hit by Sandy. Metro Baptist Church in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC is working on its plans to respond to its “neighborhood.” I would guess financial assistance will be a big necessity. And soon, I would also guess, they will need helpers. And, when we know that those volunteers will have the provisions they will need (a place to sleep, shower, and meals) we will let those plans and requests made known.