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By Kristen Camp
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Southern
Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams began preparing meals and providing
shelter on Sunday, July 20, for families affected by wildfires in Okanogan
The fires began Monday, July
14, after lightening struck in Methow Valley and spread to an area of over
7,000 acres by Thursday.
The Northwest Baptist Convention
is sending feeding units, as well as chaplains, to the affected areas to minister
to the families who have been evacuated from their homes. The North American
Mission Board (NAMB) has sent funding to assist with the effort.
“Right now because the fire
is burning in such a way that it is not contained, we can’t do any work that we
could normally do to help homeowners,” said NAMB DR executive director Fritz
Wilson. “We have to wait until they contain the fires. Once the homeowners can
get back into their homes, our teams can be in position to help them with
Approximately 3,000 meals
will be prepared each day at Chelan High School and then distributed to families
in Pateros, Methow, Carlton, Winthrop and Mazama, according to officials.
A Level 2 evacuation notice
was issued to the city of Twisp, prohibiting meals from being distributed there
until the fires have either been contained or have spread to a different
“What happens in wildfire
situations is that one family may have to evacuate for a short period of time
and then they are able to return to their homes. Then another family comes in
because the fires move and the evacuations move. So our teams have the
opportunity to minister to families from several different areas,” said Wilson.
Beyond feeding fire
survivors and first responders, SBDR volunteers will often assist homeowners
and local officials with ash out efforts after the fires have been
extinguished. These efforts include helping homeowners sift through the remainder
of their homes to find any surviving valuables or mementos. After this process
is completed, SBDR volunteers often assist with cleanup of home sites.
NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major
disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which
have their own state disaster relief programs.
Southern Baptists have 82,000 trained volunteers–including chaplains–and 1,550
mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare,
shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR
is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained disaster relief volunteers in
the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
To donate to SBDR efforts, contact the Southern Baptist
convention in your state or visit namb.net/disaster-relief-donations. Donations
are also accepted at 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) and at NAMB, P.O. Box 116543,
Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”
Kristen Camp writes for the North American Mission
Board. Mike Ebert and Lindsey Conway contributed to this article.
Date Created: 7/21/2014 3:28:26 PM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2015 North American Mission Board, SBC