October 11, 2016
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with global Baptists, its state and regional organizations and other relief agencies to provide emergency support and plan for long-term recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
CBF has contributed an initial $20,000 to assist in the hurricane relief efforts, including $10,000 to Haiti and $5,000 each to the Bahamas and Cuba through CBF Florida. CBF field personnel Jenny Jenkins, who serves in Grand Goâve, Haiti, is the point person for the relief efforts in Haiti. Jenkins, who has served in Haiti since 2008, was instrumental in the Fellowship’s response to the 2010 earthquake that devastated the small country of 11 million people. The death toll from Hurricane Matthew recently surpassed 1,000 in Haiti as government officials and medical professionals warn that contaminated water could lead to a massive cholera outbreak.
David Harding, CBF’s International Disaster Response Coordinator, said that efforts are underway to meet immediate needs in Haiti.
“The loss of life and property in the path of Hurricane Matthew is heartbreaking,” Harding said. “Plans are being developed with CBF field personnel Jenny Jenkins in Haiti to meet basic needs such as food, water and shelter, and to restore livelihoods such as productive gardens that were blown away.”
CBF is also working alongside CBF Florida to coordinate relief efforts in the Bahamas and Cuba. CBF Florida Coordinator Ray Johnson reported Monday that CBF of Bahamas churches located on the east end of Grand Bahama sustained damage, and the entire eastern half of Grand Bahama is expected to remain without power for several weeks. CBF Florida is partnering with Christ Journey Church in Miami to provide much-needed relief, including sending generators, to the Bahamas as quickly as possible. Johnson added that CBF Florida’s partners in the eastern part of Cuba endured “catastrophic losses.”
“CBF Florida is working with its partners throughout the Caribbean and Florida to begin the process of rebuilding churches, homes and communities that were devastated by Hurricane Matthew,” Johnson said. “Christ Journey Church in Miami and La Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana of Deltona are joining with CBF Florida and CBF to bring supplies and relief to the eastern portion of Cuba, particularly the remote town of Maisi, where the Fellowship has several partner churches affiliated with the Eastern Cuba Baptist Convention.”
Volunteer teams to assist with the relief efforts will be needed in the Bahamas and Cuba once the infrastructure can sustain travel to the communities, Johnson said.
In addition to CBF of Florida, other CBF state organizations, including CBF of Georgia, CBF of North Carolina and CBF of South Carolina, are continuing to assess the damage in their states and are making plans for recovery, said Ron Fairley, CBF’s associate coordinator of projects and services. While these states have all sustained wind damage, downed trees and some flooding, North Carolina has experienced the most significant flooding, as local authorities are going house to house as needed to ensure the safety of residents, he said.
Fairley also noted that CBF of North Carolina is partnering with North Carolina Baptist Men in their response to communities and churches. CBF and North Carolina Baptist Men are North American Baptist Fellowship Disaster Response partners.
“We continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones as we seek to provide aid to those who were impacted by Hurricane Matthew,” Fairley said. “CBF is committed to continuing to assist CBF Florida, CBF of Georgia, CBF of North Carolina and CBF of South Carolina in the coming days, weeks and months.”
CBF has also been in contact with the Disaster Response Team of the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc., which CBF signed an historic partnership agreement on Oct. 5 to offer mutual assistance, Fairley added.
Harding encouraged Cooperative Baptists to support the Fellowship’s emergency relief and long-term recovery efforts with prayers and donations.
Donations to support CBF’s disaster response efforts to Hurricane Matthew may be made online at www.cbf.net/Matthew or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with 17004 in the memo line to:
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
P.O. Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.