By Message Staff
The first Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief teams have been activated in response to Hurricane Florence.
Gibbie McMillan, state disaster relief coordinator for Louisiana Baptists, told the Baptist Message mud-out teams from Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association, Northshore Baptist Association and Washington Baptist Association will leave Sept. 21 for New Bern, North Carolina. They will help clean up debris resulting from the hurricane that sent water into 4,300 homes, about one-third of houses in the city.
McMillan said Louisiana Baptists unable to participate can pray and consider donating Visa gift cards for distribution by disaster relief teams.
“Please continue to pray for our teams and those they will minister to in the coming weeks,” McMillan said. “This response is made possible through your generous giving through the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.”
Lonnie Wascom, director of missions for Northshore Baptist Association, reported in his daily e-mail blast that New Life Missions, a ministry sponsored by Loranger Baptist Church, is collecting items for Florence victims at its warehouse, located at 129 Calhoun Street in Independence.
Items will be collected through Sept. 28 from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. No donations will be taken Sept. 22 or 23. Among the items needed include baby formula, non-perishable food, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, diapers, baby wipes, blankets, mops, and Gatorade.
HIS Church in Pineville posted on Facebook that a team from its Shepherd’s Pie ministry will leave Sept. 20 to work in Dillon, South Carolina. The church is collecting water, Gatorade, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart gift cards, and money to purchase gift cards through 6 p.m. Sept. 19.
For its part, Christ’s Community Church in Denham Springs also is collecting cleaning supplies, baby supplies, water, mold killer, air mattresses with bedding, towels and washcloths from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 19. The church plans to deliver the items next week to areas impacted by Florence.
Pray, give and go
The North Carolina Baptist Convention reported on its website that Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding teams were stationed at Second Baptist Church in Washington and Temple Baptist Church in New Bern. Teams from Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia were on the ground Tuesday to help feed residents impacted by Florence.
“This will be a long term response,” the North Carolina Baptist Convention website said. “Please continue to pray for people affected by Florence, our church and pastors who are affected/ministering, and our volunteers who are serving. Thank you for praying, giving and going.”
Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 14 as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm has produced record rainfall and flooding that caused entire towns to be cut off, and is responsible for at least 37 deaths in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the Weather Channel.
A news release from the office of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper reported that 16 rivers in the state were at major flood stage and more than 1,100 roads closed. First responders, including 1,000 members of the Cajun Navy, reported rescuing and evacuating 2,200 people and almost 600 animals from flooded areas through Tuesday, September 18.
More than 15,000 people have sought refuge in 144 shelters, including mega-shelters at Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
According to Moody’s Analytics, Florence’s economic impact is expected to be between $17 and $22 billion, which would make the storm among the 10 costliest hurricanes to hit the US.
“We were close to $10 [billion] to $15 billion on Friday. The flooding is more extensive because the storm was so slow moving. It hung over the Carolinas a lot longer than was anticipated,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told CNBC.