By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) — A partnership between Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Home Depot has generated more than $950,000 in funds for disaster relief responses since 2017.
This money represents a financial windfall from donations by Home Depot amounting to 5 percent of all purchases made by Southern Baptists who had registered their credit or debit cards for the program. This additional funding from Home Depot stores has supported deployments of disaster relief teams to help impacted areas across the United States, according to Louisiana Baptists State Disaster Relief Coordinator Gibbie McMillan. Funds are given to the North American Mission Board, which disperses money equally to the Southern Baptist state conventions. Rebates from the partnership funded 92 percent of the costs of a $4,500 disaster relief trip taken by an Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association chainsaw team to an area of Connecticut devastated by a tornado in late May 2019, McMillan said. Team members saw four people accept Christ during their week of ministry in Southbury, Connecticut. “What eternal souls are you engaging when you respond to a need like this,” McMillan said. “Only eternity will tell.”
McMillan said the partnership was formed after Home Depot took notice of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts.
Company leaders then contacted Disaster Relief officials to discuss the possibility of offering support. Through late 2019, 5,000 churches and agencies have registered their credit and debit cards in the program to allow Disaster Relief to receive the rebates.
“We are not underwriting Home Depot or another organization,” McMillan said. “We are merely saying they have seen the good we are doing through Disaster Relief and want to be a part of it.”
McMillan is grateful for the Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association team and many others in the state who have faithfully served in disaster relief.
Responses in 2019 included tornadoes in Alexandria, Ball, DeRidder, Pineville and Ruston, Hurricane Barry in Oberlin, Franklin and Watson and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. McMillan said new teams are forming at Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport (chainsaw), East Ridge Baptist Church in Lake Charles (laundry or shower), the First Baptist Church in Covington (chainsaw) and Louisiana State University of Alexandria Baptist Collegiate Ministry (chainsaw).
For more information email: Michael_r_daniel@homedepot.com.