Florida Baptist Disaster Relief preparing to respond to Matthew

Volunteers who served in Louisiana after flooding are on standby to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. (Florida Baptist Convention)Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are making preparations to respond to the potential impact and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew’s march along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

Forecasters expect the Category 3 hurricane to strengthen as it moves northward from the Bahamas with potential landfall from North Miami to Jacksonville Thursday night. This will be the first time a major storm has made a direct hit in Florida in more than a decade, when Hurricane Wilma hit in 2005.

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Florida.

Two Florida Baptist mass feeding units are being staged at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center near Leesburg for rapid response. The Disaster Operation Center at Lake Yale will stage equipment out of the warehouse. Trained mass feeding volunteers are expected to be called out Thursday. FBDR officials have asked Southern Baptist state partners west of Pensacola to be on standby, including Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

According to Delton Beall, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief director, the state’s Emergency Operations Center estimates the need of more than 300,000 meals daily if the state takes a direct hit.

Florida Baptists are continuing to initiate contact with mission partners in Eastern Cuba and Western Haiti after the storm tore through the nations Tuesday. Reports indicate Western Haiti was devastated by floods and damage.

Craig Culbreth, catalyst for the Convention’s Missions and Ministries Team, reports the mission house of the Confratenite Missionaire de Haiti in Port-au-Prince did not sustain damage. He plans to travel to the nation Saturday.

A team of Florida Baptists are expected to arrive next week in Santiago, Cuba, to repair roofs of churches and other damage.

Florida Baptists had pre-stationed food, water and other resources in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew. Long-term needs assessments will take place in the coming days.

Florida’s 5,000 disaster relief volunteers are trained in mass feeding, emergency response, damage assessment, cleanup and recovery, child care and others areas as needed in a mass disaster response.

To donate to the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief effort mail a check to the Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207. Designate “Florida disaster relief.” To make a donation by credit card, call 800-226-8584, attn. Mike Gilley, ext. 3047, or Flor Ramirez, ext. 3100.

Barbara Denman is director of communications for the Florida Baptist Convention (flbaptist.org).

Comments (2)

  • Wanda Harrison Reply

    I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for people that you didn't even know. What you did and getting ready to do it again is amazing! My brother and my mother flooded in August and lost everything ,but that stuff can be replaced. What these people did , and this is people that we had no clue who they were just came and worked and worked. It was amazing to see these people work through God! Your group of people are selfless and amazing! Our God Is An Awesome God!!

    October 6, 2016 at 11:21 am
  • Barbara James Reply

    Praying for your Florida Baptist volunteers, and other Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers who will be responding to the aftermath of this hurricane. I used to volunteer with Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, so I know how important your work is and how those facing the damages need to find Hope in the midst of disaster. May God bless you and guide you as you minister in His name.

    October 6, 2016 at 8:34 pm

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