SAVANNAH — Exactly two weeks from the day when Hurricane Matthew crushed Savannah under raging wind and rain, Georgia Baptist disaster relief volunteers will descend on the city in a wave of a massive cleanup effort.
State Missionary and Disaster Relief Coordinator Stuart Lang said this morning that all certified volunteers are being mobilized, as available, to arrive in the coastal city Friday afternoon and be prepared to work through the end of Sunday clearing trees and limbs from homes still waiting for assistance.
Homeowners frequently are charged several hundred to several thousand dollars for removal of debris from their property, many times which includes trees that have crushed through roofs. Those without adequate insurance can be left penniless by the cleanup, if they have funds at all.
Latrees Reeves of the Georgetown community is one of those grateful recipients. She was at a party when she heard a friend talking about the free assistance being provided by Georgia Baptists. When she arrived home the friend had sent her a screen grab of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Facebook page with the information on how to apply.
“This is an awesome service because it can cost hundreds of dollars – that I don’t have – to have my tree removed,” she said while filing an application on Tuesday at the Savannah Baptist Center, which houses the Association. The large center on Wheaton Street serves as headquarters for disaster relief teams needing housing and meals while they are in town.
Nearly 400 individuals seeking assistance
Reeves will be one of the 350 individuals requesting assistance and who may find relief this weekend. Some individuals cannot even get into their homes due to trees on their roofs or blocking entrances.
Gerry Rowland, a member of South Newington Baptist Church in Bloomingdale, was happy to help Reeves fill out the form.
“So many people are so grateful for this assistance, and readily accept our offer to pray with them. When we tell them there is no charge they frequently begin crying right then. They say there are not enough words to thank us for our help,” she noted.
State Missionary Joe Graham, who oversees Collegiate Ministries for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, is going one step further by enlisting the brawn of students who would be willing to participate in the weekend cleanup blitz.
“We are asking Baptist Collegiate Ministries campus ministers who are disaster relief certified to bring students with them to provide an extra source of hard-working volunteers,” he said.
Lang said he is praying that 200 volunteers and disaster relief leaders will show up to tackle as many of the projects as daylight will allow on Saturday and Sunday.