September 25, 2018
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga.— The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is continuing its disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and has identified the location and focus of its long-term disaster recovery work.
As flood waters from Hurricane Florence have begun to recede in the eastern Carolinas, CBF personnel, leaders from the North and South Carolina CBF organizations and local congregations have been assessing the damage. In consultation with community leaders, Trenton, N.C. and Conway, S.C. have been identified as communities in need of significant assistance.
Trenton experienced severe flooding and more than 90 percent of the homes in the town were damaged in addition to churches and businesses. With a population of 300, the multi-racial rural community faces great economic challenges, according to Rick Burnette, who directs domestic disaster response work for CBF. City officials serve on a volunteer basis and must balance civic duties with livelihood demands.
Another hard-hit community assessed for response is Conway, S.C., where approximately 1,000 homes have been inundated. Many of these residences were also damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2017, according to Jay Kieve, coordinator of CBF of South Carolina.
Due to sustained and widespread flooding, CBF representatives and partners were unable to make assessments in many locations for several days. When CBF Disaster Response personnel were finally able to reach Trenton, N.C. on September 22, they discovered that no other agencies had contacted this hard-hit community. Discussions with community leaders coalesced into preparations to mobilize a long-term recovery effort. Similar delays were experienced in South Carolina.
CBF invites teams of volunteers to register to assist with the recovery in both Trenton and Conway.
“We are now ready to facilitate CBF churches as they share resources and teams of volunteers to partner with these communities in recovery,” Burnette said.
CBF’s long-term recovery work in these flooded areas will initially involve cleaning out homes and other property as well as the removal of drywall, flooring and other water-damaged materials.
CBF’s recovery work in the eastern Carolinas will be carried out in cooperation with CBF North and South Carolina as well as First Baptist Churches, New Bern, N.C. and Conway, S.C., which will provide lodging for volunteer teams.
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter urged Cooperative Baptists to support the Fellowship’s relief efforts the days and months ahead through both financial gifts and hands-on service.
“As the rivers continue to crest in the Carolinas, the total impact of Florence remains uncertain,” Porter said. “What is clear is the devastation of many smaller communities like Trenton in addition to the cities we see on the news. The compassion of Cooperative Baptists is evident already in the willingness of CBF churches to host first responders and the efforts of our state/regional organizations to organize volunteers.
“This work desperately needs your help—your prayers, your financial gifts and your boots-on-the-ground in the days ahead—to support not only initial efforts but long-term recovery after FEMA and other NGOs depart. Our churches stay, and CBF walks with them. With political crises dominating the news cycle, giving to hurricane relief has been tepid. We need your help. Your gifts to CBF Disaster Response can transform the world, one community at a time. Can we count on you?”
Give online here to financially support the recovery efforts of CBF Disaster Response. If you prefer, you may also give by mailing a check payable to “CBF” to:
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
PO Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972
*be sure to include “Hurricane Florence response” in the memo line
CBF Disaster Response exists to equip Christians and churches to serve communities affected by disaster. Learn more at www.cbf.net/dr.