DULUTH — The buckets keep coming.
Historic flooding in Louisiana took everything, but Georgia Baptists are helping residents recover. With over 1,500 collected so far, Buckets of Care provide essential safety equipment, tools, and first aid.
Residents need more help, though. Recently the state’s governor announced flood damage exceeding $8.7 billion. With flood waters receding, more volunteers can soon arrive to help with cleanup. Before that, though, priorities lay in providing supplies.
Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief Director Stuart Lang congratulated Georgia Baptists on their giving. Yet, he encouraged a prolonged view of assisting in the recovery.
“Relief efforts are progressing much faster than expected in Louisiana,” he said. “But, I expect an extended need for rebuild teams.”
Getting supplies to Louisiana
Lang also complimented Georgia Baptists in working within parameters to meet logistics. A truck from the North American Mission Board took buckets to Louisiana. However, the sole pick-up point needed to be in a central location. The Rehoboth Baptist Association offices in Warner Robins served that purpose.
Volunteers around the state responded, driving buckets to Houston County for eventual delivery. Carrolton Baptist Association director Dan Dockery drove 280 miles round-trip. When he reached Warner Robins almost 50 buckets arrived with him.
Besides loading the NAMB truck, GBDR’s Incident Management Team delivered another load of supplies. Mike Greenwell, director for Unit 2F in Kilpatrick/Hephzibah associations, delivered items from Thomson to Judson Baptist Church in Walker, LA. Besides the 81 buckets aboard, Greenwell also brought cleaning supplies and eight boxes of clothing. It’s possible more buckets will be delivered later in the month.
Long-term presence expected
Latest figures place damage estimates at 155,000 residences in 20 Louisiana parishes. Many churches damaged include 70 Southern Baptist congregations.
Sky Pratt, college and missions pastor at Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart, led another effort. Louisiana State University’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry felt the flooding. In particular, campus minister Steve Masters’ home took six feet of water. To help, fans and dehumidifiers made their way from Bogart to Baton Rouge. Those items were later distributed to residents by LSU BCM students.
“We put out the word to church members and over week collected over 60 dehumidifiers and 180 fans,” said Pratt. Other items such as wheelbarrows, shovels, and anti-mold spray joined the trip. Pratt had gotten to know Masters over 15 years of working in collegiate missions.
“Steve is one of those guys who knows everybody and is a good point person for something like this. Those items will be distributed well,” Pratt stated.
Masters told Baptist Press the items were among “the flooded homeowner’s greatest needs…. It is of critical importance in rebuilding to have the moisture out of the studs and walls of a house. Any type [of unit] will work.” Masters, who continues coordinating the collection, can be reached at (225) 964-0830.
Other organizations have joined Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams. For example, LifeWay Christian Resources announced it will help replace lost Bible study material and pastoral libraries.
“LifeWay provides biblical solutions for life,” said Thom Rainer, president and CEO. “We want to support these pastors and churches during the good times, but even more during the difficult times. Replacing some of what was lost is a way for LifeWay to stand with pastors and churches through these heartbreaking circumstances.”
In addition, World Changers is partnering with SBCDR to send teams of student volunteers to help.