Christian Disaster Relief Teams Gear Up as Hurricane Florence Hits East Coast

Preston Guiher carries a sheet of plywood as he prepares to board up a Wells Fargo bank in preparation for Hurricane Florence in downtown Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Preston Guiher carries a sheet of plywood as he prepares to board up a Wells Fargo bank in preparation for Hurricane Florence in downtown Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

On top of all the state and federal disaster relief groups readying for Hurricane Florence as it barrels toward North and South Carolina are a group of expert helpers: the faith teams.

The biggest of these, North Carolina Baptists on Mission and the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, have made a name for themselves during previous hurricanes and other natural disasters, feeding people, clearing debris, gutting uninhabitable homes and rebuilding them from stud to kitchen cabinet.

On Wednesday (Sept. 12), they were back at it — not yet delivering help, but strategizing over how best to deploy their volunteer armies and equipment.

Florence is likely to produce catastrophic flooding in the eastern Carolinas when it makes landfall Friday. Damaging winds and near-certain flooding from the massive rainfall will worsen the misery.

“God’s opened a lot of doors and given us a lot of opportunity,” said Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptists on Mission, a collective of emergency response teams in the state. “We’re thankful for that. We want to glorify God if we have opportunities to, and we’re looking for the best way to do that right now.”

Baptists on Mission partners with the state, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to feed thousands. On Wednesday leaders pored over the latest storm tracking information to figure out where best to station its three mobile kitchen units. At full capacity, two of those units can provide 30,000 hot meals a day each; the third can provide 20,000 meals.

Some 15,000 North Carolina Baptists have been trained in disaster relief work and many more untrained Baptists volunteer as well.

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SOURCE: Yonat Shimron
Religion News Service