Baptists issue disaster response appeals

CBF and BGCT disaster response leaders say help is needed for February tornado victims in Hattiesburg, Miss., and for those whose homes were damaged in flooding last week in Austin, Texas.

By Jeff Brumley

The needs for help are flowing in from Baptist disaster response leaders around the nation.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Tommy Deal sent an e-mail blast Wednesday appealing for volunteers who can spare the time and energy to do roofing work in Hattiesburg, Miss.

“Yes, we may have forgotten that a tornado ripped through the neighborhood adjacent to University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg (on Feb. 10) this year,” Deal wrote. “And here it is November and some homes are just now getting some help to re-roof.”

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Anyone able to help with that project is urged to contact Jim Kirkendall of CBF Mississippi.

Deal was joined in his next appeal by Marla Bearden, disaster recovery specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In separate messages, they asked supporters for donations to help victims living in the approximately 1,600 homes in Austin flooded on Oct. 31.

“More than 100 have been ‘red-tagged,’ meaning that homeowners cannot enter without an inspector and that the home will most likely have to be demolished,” Bearden’s e-mail said. “What’s more, a good portion of these homeowners are without flood insurance.”

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Bearden said gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes and others are needed along with cash donations. They can be sent to Bearden at Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery. Donations also can be made online, she said.

Texas Baptists also posted online a list of supplies needed by flooding victims and said they can be hand-delivered to Oak Meadows Baptist Church in Austin.

Deal said CBF Texas Coordinator Rick McClatchey is assessing the need in Austin and urged Fellowship Baptists to give online. Donors may also send checks made payable to CBF with a “disaster response” designation to Disaster Response Ministries