Spare Change November 2018
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry
On October 10th the residents of Florida endured the third most powerful Atlantic hurricane. Hurricane Michael destroyed homes and businesses causing over a billion dollars in damage. There were at least 54 deaths recorded by October 22nd. People are still reeling from the devastation. Of course the Red Cross is there, along with other agencies, but the unsung heroes are the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. These volunteers come from Southern Baptist churches from all over the United States. Most of these volunteers have chosen to use their retirement years to chase disasters like these. Whenever and wherever there is a national disaster the Yellow Hats, as they are called, respond in droves. They have been at every major natural disaster for the last 50 years. From hurricanes and floods to tornadoes, the Yellow Hats, respond.
They have several functions they provide. The most publicized is their ability to feed people. Using a combination of mobile kitchens and nearby Southern Baptist church kitchens they are able to crank out 10’s of thousands of meals each day. Check out this excerpt from a 2011 article in the New York Times, “The Southern Baptists cook the food that the Red Cross provides, and then Red Cross crews help deliver it. Since March 31, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross have worked together to deliver more than 638,000 meals and snacks to communities affected by this spring’s rash of severe weather.”
They don’t just feed people, they also have chain saw crews to cut up fallen trees and mud out crews to clear debris. The volunteers are not just there to work, they also provide a shoulder to cry on and pray with those affected by the disaster. They help with the physical needs so they can also provide for the person's greatest need -- salvation. They are able to share hope with people through the power of the gospel. Below are just some of the key statistics from 2017.
All this should fill us with pride as Southern Baptists. Our giving to the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering helps fund this ministry. The national news has taken notice of our efforts, as well as the President and Vice-president, but of course that is not why we do it. Whether we get recognition or not it doesn’t really matter. The volunteers of this ministry are seeking to please a much greater leader. They are seeking to bring glory and honor to their Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember to pray for this ministry and its volunteers. They are scheduled to remain in Florida through Thanksgiving, providing meals for people displaced by the Hurricane Michael. For more information or to donate to the relief effort visit www.namb.net/hurricane-relief/