Christian Relief Groups Seek Assistance to Weather Out Florida’s Hurricanes

With Hurricane Frances closing in on the southeastern coast of Florida, Christian relief groups expressed an urgent need for aid and offerings from the faithful nationwide, Sept. 3, 2004.

Forecasters said that while they are unsure of exactly where or when Frances will land, they are certain of one thing: Frances’ path of destruction will be twice as large as that of the deadly Charley.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units, which pulled out of Florida on Tuesday, said they are making plans to prepare 1 million meals a week after Frances hits.

“Because of the population centers potentially impacted by Hurricane Frances at this time, the American Red Cross has asked us to be ready to prepare one million meals a week in the aftermath of this storm,” said Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board. “In the three weeks since Hurricane Charley, we’ve already prepared one million meals, so the Red Cross is asking us to triple our capacity.”

According to Reccord, the SBC disaster relief will activate 40 mobile kitchens – twice the number of units activated in the wake of Charley – for the victims of the expected devastation.

With so much need, the NAMB reminded the Southern Baptists that their individual contributions can make a “timely difference.”

“This double-barreled emergency has stretched our resources beyond all anticipated needs,” Reccord stated. “Yet God is already redeeming lives amid this tragedy through the loving labors of Southern Baptists.”

“The normal logistical challenges faced by one hurricane are difficult enough, but put two back to back, and you’ve got unbelievable challenges,” Reccord continued. “While our volunteers are meeting physical needs, they have many opportunities to give spiritual answers to the devastation that will be left in the wake of the hurricanes.

“Thanks to Southern Baptists throughout North America when disaster strikes and the bottom falls out, we’re able to step up and step forward to provide immediate assistance to those whose lives have been devastated.”

Meanwhile, the Assemblies of God’s relief unit, Convoy of Hope (COH), said it is preparing to deliver water, ice, food and other essentials to Frances’ victims.

"We already have some personnel down there [Florida] and two trucks, with a more on the way," said COH Senior Director of Administration David Moore. "We have also made arrangements for ice and water, contacted several churches for potential distribution locations, and contacted other partner ministries and businesses to procure items that will be needed."

"We want to help as many people as we can," Moore explained. "We have trucks, refrigerated trucks, experience in helping victims of natural disasters and a network of volunteers ready to get involved."

Moore then explained that the hurricanes have placed a “significant strain on COH human and financial resources.”

"This is already a busy time of the year for us, without the hurricanes," Moore says. "We have an outreach in Honduras this weekend and next week in Springfield [Missouri] and Flint, Michigan. "People are worn out, but the people [staff] here have been heroic in stepping up and doing things they don't normally do . . . though all of our resources are stretched almost to the limit."

To give to COH or to volunteer for the effort, please contact Tami Trivitt at the Convoy of Hope (417) 823-8998. Those wishing to help with the relief effort financially, can either call COH at the same number or visit its Web site at http://www.convoyofhope.org/.

Contributions to the SBC’s relief efforts can be made online at www.namb.net/disasterrelief or mailed to North American Mission Board, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.