S.C. Baptist Disaster Relief official sees urgency in getting roofs patched

With many South Carolina communities still plagued by flooding, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have been working tirelessly to help survivors of Hurricane Florence since its landfall on Sept. 14.

Several flooded rivers were expected to crest Sept. 26, and as the waters started to recede, SBDR volunteers faced a pressing need to provide temporary roofing for homeowners.

“We’ve had virtually no rain since the storm, but we have some rain in the forecast,” Randy Creamer, South Carolina’s disaster relief director, reported. “So it’s really significant to get roofs covered before the rains return and cause a whole lot more damage.”

SBDR teams from South Carolina and Georgia have been using temporary roofing supplies sent by Send Relief, the North American Mission Board’s compassion ministry arm. Send Relief stowed the roofing and other flood recovery supplies in Red Springs, N.C., where they could be readily accessed by SBDR volunteers in North and South Carolina.

Send Relief also sent “pastor packs” to state convention SBDR leaders to distribute to pastors and churches to help serve their communities with the packs’ chainsaws, generators, fuel filters and other supplies.

“The guys look at the pastor packs and their mouths drop open when we tell them that they’re for them and for their personal ministry to their communities,” Creamer said. “It’s like Christmas in September. It lets them know that somebody cares and that they’re going to get through this.”

As Creamer described the feeding and recovery efforts in South Carolina, he lauded the efforts of the local associational mission strategists, saying that they have been pivotal to SBDR ministry to local communities.

“They’re our right-hand guys in disaster relief,” he said. “They are seizing opportunities to minister in communities” by helping their churches and pastors meet needs.

“The gray skies have brought opportunities to minister that blue skies don’t,” Creamer said.

To keep up with South Carolina Baptists’ response to the storm, visit the SCBC DR Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scdisasterrelief.

In North Carolina, Richard Brunson, director of North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM), stated that more flood and storm recovery opportunities were beginning to open up.

“Our volunteers are seeing a lot of needs and getting a lot of requests for mud-out, tear-out and chainsaw jobs,” Brunson said. “Some places are getting hundreds of requests.”

Several thousand volunteers were working Sept. 26 at around 20 locations, serving meals, distributing crisis buckets, cleaning up yards and beginning flood cleanup.

“The assistance that other disaster relief teams brought in from other states has been humbling, overwhelming and very encouraging,” Brunson said.

As of Sept. 25, SBDR teams in North and South Carolina reported serving nearly 675,000 meals, distributing more than 1,200 crisis buckets, cleaning up over 200 yards and providing temporary roofing for 100 homes.

So far, SBDR volunteers have reported nearly 300 gospel presentations, with 54 professions of faith.

To donate funds and inquire about volunteer opportunities, click here.

— Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.