In recognition of the thousands of volunteers who work with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR), yesterday Southern Baptist Convention congregations celebrated Disaster Relief Appreciation Sunday.
Responding both to the disasters we read about in the headlines and smaller disasters that rarely make the news, men and women in yellow SBDR shirts routinely answer the call.
Send Relief Crisis Response Director for Kentucky, Coy Webb said, “I continue to believe the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is one of the best volunteer disaster response groups in the world. It is filled with volunteers who sacrificially serve to bring compassion to those reeling from disasters.”
In 2020, a year marked not only by the COVID-19 pandemic but also a historic Atlantic storm season, SBDF volunteers volunteered more than 673,000 hours, prepared 754,000 meals, shared the Gospel 7,000 times helping to lead more than 875 professions of faith in Christ.
Of the record 30 named storms from last year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic, 2 storms, Sally and Delta, hit the community of Lake Charles, Louisiana only six weeks apart. Responding by sending teams from 28 states, SBDR volunteers serve approximately 15,000 people in 7,200 homes, according to Sam Porter, national director for disaster relief for Send Relief of Oklahoma.
“The pandemic forced us to do things that we’d never done before,” Porter said. “I think it was the best year for SBDR because we had to think outside the box and do whatever it took to get it done, encouraging SBDR teams to connect to communities in need through the local church. We had thousands upon thousands of churches jump in to serve, responding to their own local communities.”
Gratefully, there has not been any nationwide to hit the United States where the Southern Baptist Convention is headquartered. This has allowed local teams to focus on local events such as ice storms, floods, fires, tornadoes, the pandemic and other crises.
“Now we are in early hurricane season, and we know that if something hits, we will be there to serve,” Porter said. “We have a nationwide network of SBDR leaders and volunteers who are ready to go. We’d rather not have to go, of course, but if we need to, we will be there.”
Thank you SBDR volunteers. We pray that you feel appreciated not only this Sunday but every Sunday.
Source: Baptist Press