Churches in Georgia Provided Shelter for Hurricane Irma Victims Fleeing Florida

Hurricane Irma evacuees at a temporary RV campground hosted by Lighthouse Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., relax in the church's coffee shop. (Photo from Tim Sizemore)
Hurricane Irma evacuees at a temporary RV campground hosted by Lighthouse Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., relax in the church’s coffee shop. (Photo from Tim Sizemore)

As Hurricane Irma evacuees streamed north, Baptists in Georgia welcomed Floridians fleeing the storm’s looming wrath.

One church even turned some of its 16 acres into a makeshift RV campground.

At Lighthouse Baptist, just off Interstate 75 in Macon, Ga., pastor Tim Sizemore and church leaders decided they could offer evacuees more than their small sanctuary.

They ran electricity and limited water and septic to the site of Lighthouse’s future growth and converted it into a temporary campground.

When word got out, families with RVs, campers and just cars began pulling into the pastoral setting for rest.

News of the unique venue spread through word of mouth and Facebook, which Sizemore said registered 650 shares, and through the websites of Rehoboth Baptist Association and nearby Robbins Air Force Base. He also occasionally trekked over to the Love’s Truck Stop to invite strangers who looked tired and in need of a place to spend the night.

Lighthouse members provided dinners to the evacuees, “just a traditional Southern Baptist covered dish meal, whatever they have at home or in their freezers … everything from barbecue to cubed venison,” Sizemore said.

The church coffee shop became a meet-and-greet place for evacuees, with a flat-screen television streaming live coverage of Hurricane Irma’s onslaught on their home state.

One Lighthouse member who operates a bakery provided various food items to the guests while a friend of the church who operates a roastery provided coffee.

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SOURCE: Joe Westbury
Georgia Christian Index via Baptist Press