Disaster Response / General CBF

Update on Hurricane Sandy response

The following post is from Tommy Deal, CBF of Georgia’s disaster response coordinator.

Hurricane, or “Super Storm,” Sandy has gotten a lot of attention across all levels of media.  This storm last week changed millions of lives forever.  This should not be downplayed at all.   This update, however, is an attempt to give a synopsis to her broad impact and the various areas in which needs are being met by CBF.  CBF’s name begins with “Cooperative” and with very few constituents and perhaps no churches in each of the affected areas, CBF has majored its response with the root of this word, cooperate.  Our response thus far, has been through partners we cooperate with.

In Cuba and the Bahamas, CBF is continuing to aide through partner CBF of Florida and through CBFFL the Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of The Bahamas (see below).  In the “northeast” cooperative partners have been American Baptist Churches of the USA (ABCUSA), American Baptist Association (ABA), District of Columbia Baptist Convention, CBF of Virginia, Metro Baptist Church in NYC and others through North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance.  Below are a few updates:

From Charles Ray, CBF U.S. Disaster Response Coordinator

CBFResponds has been working closely with other major partners in response to the needs of those affected by Sandy in the Northeast US.

We have had an assessment team in New Jersey since early Friday.  The team is lead by Rev. Moose Jackson who serves as National Director of the American Baptist Association.

While the team has been contacting churches, local authorities and assisting families with water and food, I have been in contact with various other individuals and groups on the ground.  We have determined the following from these sources, the return of electricity is the most needed commodity.

Unlike a hurricane in the Gulf where structural damage can go inland a hundred miles, Sandy damage was generally limited to a few blocks from the water’s edge.  Most debris has been cleared to the street edge and is awaiting pickup by Federal contractors.  Where power is on stores are at full recovery.  A very large amount of flood buckets (kits for cleaning up after flooding) and personal hygiene kits are being unused for lack of need.

American Baptist Churches –USA have 284 churches in NJ and have not received word of any requiring outside assistance.

However, there is a need; blankets and coats.  A winter storm is approaching the affected area and some families are still without power and cannot heat their homes.  We have instructed our team to purchase these items for assistance in the worst cases.  Because time is so critical DO NOT send us any goods in kind.  We will not be able to distribute them.  If you wish to help let me know that you are willing to donate an amount of money for this project and I will advance it to the team for local purchase.

Metro Baptist Church, New York City

MBC in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan has ramped up their on-going ministry to the community, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries.  In the days immediately following Sandy’s impact, they opened their facilities for us by all for warmth, meals, and even a place to charge their cell phones.

Pastor Alan Sherouse writes:

At present, we’re receiving designated contributions for our newly established Disaster Response fund. These funds will go toward immediate response such as meals, any spike in direct services of food and clothing we provide, possibly some storm-related building repairs (gutter damage), and other projects that come into focus. I know some folks will be more interested in contributing toward a specific project, and we should have some of those targeted in the weeks ahead. The needs are not as acute and visible in Midtown, and the response efforts in the devastated areas are being coordinated by professionalized services, so we are working with New York Interfaith Disaster Services and Church World Service to assess needs throughout the City and find specific ways our congregation and network can be a part of the ongoing response efforts.

In addition, over the weekend, they put a request for specific items needed to re-stock their ministry center’s shelves, including items needed for the approaching colder weather.

From Tiffany Henkel who serves as the Pastor/ Executive Director of Metro Baptist Church/ Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries in New York.

They are grateful for our partnership and have already begun their own short term response to their community. They have been providing some hot meals, snack bags, and cell phone charging stations. As we shared I asked what specific things could congregations and individuals do to assist. In addition to welcomed prayers and monetary donations, Tiffany mentioned three specific collection type projects that would be of GREAT benefit.

Toiletries    Although this church has a year round ministry to utilize these items (as well as clothes and canned food), there supplies are low. {Actually Tiffany said that they have already exhausted their supply many items and they have their first food pantry tomorrow.}

Items needed: travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, lotions, tissues, and Chapstick.

Snacks   Metro has been offering “snack bags” to people who come to the center. These are simple bags filled with portable snacks.

Items needed: packs of crackers, chips, raisins, breakfast bars, granola bars, juice boxes, etc.

Clothing  This is also a critical need area, especially with Winter upon them.

Items needed: heavy coats (larger sizes are especially needed because most people are layering their clothing), gloves, socks, hats, sweaters, scarves, and men’s pants(totally out of this item)

This would be a great project for an entire congregation, a youth group, or a Sunday school class. All items should be boxed up and mailed directly to Metro ( NOT CBF National). Please mail all items to:

Metro Baptist Church
c/o Tiffany Henkel
410 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018

NOTE:  Do NOT send items not requested!!!!

CBF of Virginia

Rob Fox, Field Coordinator for CBFVA and Pastor Will Baker on the Eastern Shore of Virginia are working on some plans to help with some of the flooded areas on the Delmarva Peninsula.  Rob writes:

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.

 

CUBA and BAHAMAS

Rev. Xiomara Reboyras-Ortiz has just returned from Santiago de Cuba on behalf of CBF of Florida.  While there she assisted in delivering resources to provide 8,000 pounds of food to folks in and around Santiago.  She has reported extensive damage to homes and churches.  While the government is providing the items necessary for repairs at one-third costs, these folks have little resources.  They have plenty of workers if they can get the items needed.   They are working on finding ways to help.

Ray Johnson, Coordinator for CBF of Florida is working on an “airlift” of collected clothes and items requested and collected among Florida churches to send to Abaco, Bahamas.  They, too, are continuing to develop plans to meet other needs.

ISAAC Let us not forget that Isaac preceded Sandy by a month and plans ARE in place for CBF volunteers in Louisiana.  We still are actively engaged in Isaac recovery work in LaPlace, LA, about 30 miles west of New Orleans.  There are 15,000 families affected and CBF has established a long tern base to assist.  Teams are needed there now.

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