Monday, September 18, 2017

Guess who's getting their feet wet

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ ~ Matthew 25:44-45

As people and organizations rushed to Florida to aid those affected by Hurricane Irma, one organization that responds to natural disasters is often overlooked — the Southern Baptist Convention's Disaster Relief program.
In 2013, replicating their response to previous disasters, SBC Disaster Relief rushed to the aid of tornado victims in Oklahoma. In a video posted on FEMA's website, it's revealed that the SBC's mobile kitchen units provide 90 percent of all hot food distributed around the country by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army when disasters strike. 
According to a New York Times' article, "Nearly 95,000 Baptists across the country are trained to handle disasters like hurricanes and floods. After the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, the Baptist group is the biggest disaster relief organization in the country."
The Baptists aren't alone. The Seventh Day Adventists, over several decades, have established a unique expertise in disaster “warehousing” collecting, logging, organizing and distributing relief supplies, in cooperation with government disaster response agencies.
The Adventists have agreements with states around the country to provide warehouse services in the event of a disaster. “Right now, in the state of Texas, we are going around with FEMA trying to help them select a facility,” said Derek Lee, director of disaster response for Adventist Community Services. “It’ll actually be the state’s facility but it’ll be us that helps them manage it. We are going around with them right now trying to help them pick out a facility that will accommodate what the need is going to be on the ground.”
And the United Methodists have 20,000 trained volunteers around the country who can be called up for "early response teams," basically small crews that can help with debris removal and home cleanup. They are trained, badged, background checked, and they are part of the team that can be called up on short notice to respond.

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