Thank you for your willingness to assist our friends in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico who have been devastated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. To keep you informed, please note the following updates (listed with most recent updates at the top):
Update (October 28, 2017): Disaster Relief Appreciation Sunday, Nov. 5
Editor’s note: In honor of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief Appreciation Day, observed this year on November 5, we are highlighting how the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware has been involved in the massive effort to assist hurricane victims in the southern United States.
In addition to various evangelism trainings throughout the year, disaster relief has continued to be a huge tool for evangelism. Doug DuBois, State Director of Evangelism and State Director of Disaster Relief, has had a particularly busy season in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Here is a summary of the incredible amount of work that is taking place:
First, Hurricane Harvey, Texas. Maryland/Delaware Baptists quickly responded in the wake of “the worst disaster” to hit Texas by generously donating materials for crisis buckets and hygiene kits as well as donating financially to help disaster relief teams address needs. In addition to financial donations, the BCM/D had set up three collection centers for material donations, which were delivered to Fredonia Hill Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, a partner SBC church who regularly brought supplies into the areas devastated by the storm.
Presently, Disaster Relief teams are wrapping up initial efforts, but there are still opportunities for teams to go to Texas to do mud-out and recovery for the coming months in Houston, Vidor, and Groves. After this, teams will go into the long-term rebuild stage of recovery. Local church mission teams can consider going down and partnering with local churches in those same areas.
Next, Hurricane Irma, Florida. Maryland/Delaware Disaster Relief volunteers deployed to Immokalee, Fla., in a successful partnership with the North American Mission Board’s Send Relief and First Baptist Church, Immokalee. Over 70 volunteers representing all of our 11 associations served on site. BCM/D DR was able to deploy four recovery units, a shower unit, laundry unit, and a feeding unit. BCM/D will continue to partner with the FBC, Immokalee, to assist them as they help their community through the rebuilding process. As it turns out, God had already established a connection with First Baptist Church of Immokalee. They are the sending church for Restoration Church, in Towson, Md., where Chris Pugh is planter!
In a video, First Baptist, Immokalee, Pastor Timothy Pigg thanked Maryland/ Delaware Baptists for giving to the Cooperative Program.
“Because you have done that, your state convention has been able to help us out at First Baptist, Immokalee, in a great way. You provided for us supplies, manpower… the resources we need to begin to grow, repair and recover from the disaster of Hurricane Irma.” Pigg shared that with our help, over 200 volunteers distributed supplies of water and food to people in 550 cars plus the over 150 who walked to the church. “There was one time that the car line was completely out of town,” Pigg said. “It was incredible, and it could not have happened without your churches partnering with us to accomplish that.”
After the initial distribution, the church and DR volunteers have systematically gone from door-to-door, asking how to serve them. They’ve covered damaged homes with tarps, cleaned up debris, and have done some mudout and various rebuilding projects already. They’ve also done a lot of spiritual work.
Rick Merritt of Lynnhaven Baptist Church shared Christ with Jose (last name unavailable), a Florida resident affected by Hurricane Irma. Jose had walked by the trailer where Merritt was working.
“You’re the Christians who are working on the houses?” Jose asked him. “Yes, we are!” Merritt responded, asking Jose if he knew Jesus. “No, I am a sinner,” Jose replied.
“We’re all sinners,” Merritt explained. After asking questions about not being clean, Jose prayed, accepting Jesus into his life. “He says he’ll be at the church Sunday morning. Praise God!” Merritt said.
As of mid-October, the official Disaster Relief response is winding down across the state, and long-term rebuild is in focus. Maryland/Delaware congregations are invited to do mission trips to the “Sunshine State” to assist in rebuild projects, with churches such as Goodland Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Immokalee, among others.
Lastly, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico. Deploying in Puerto Rico has been logistically challenging due to the amount of devastation caused by the storm. As of mid-October, there are more than 14,000 federal staff including more than 800 FEMA personnel, on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Governor of Puerto Rico has established Regional Staging Areas around the island, serving all 78 municipalities. The National Guard is delivering supplies to the regional staging areas around the island.
So, where does this leave BCM/D DR when it comes to the Caribbean? BCM/D DR had volunteers, as part of a team from Region 1 (Virginia through the Northeast conventions), to assist in distributing resources and food. We are working, along with our Region 1 partners, to adopt a zone of the island for an extended period as a mission opportunity. This could allow congregations to go on mission trips to assist local church planters as they work throughout their community. Stay tuned for more information, as this is still in development.
Those who are interested in any of these efforts can go to the BCM/D’s DR website, https://md.disasterreliefonline.com, where they can sign up under the upcoming deployment page. Those interested in giving financially to assist these efforts can donate online at www.bcmd.org/give. Consistent updates about disaster relief also are available.
Update (October 16, 2017): First Baptist Church, Immokalee, expresses gratitude
Maryland/Delaware State Disaster Relief Director Doug DuBois speaks with First Baptist Church, Immokalee Pastor Timothy Pigg about the many ways Maryland/Delaware Baptists have served the Southwest Florida community in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s destructive winds and flooding.
<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/238395971″ width=”600″ height=”338″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
Update (October 16, 2017): Florida church shares needs
Maryland/Delaware State Disaster Relief Director Doug DuBois interviews leaders of Goodland Baptist Church in Southwest Florida about ways Maryland/Delaware Baptists can help recover homes and serve their church in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/238395223″ width=”600″ height=”338″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
Update (September 28, 2017): In the News
FREDERICK NEWS POST: “Local church members lend a hand in storm-ravaged Florida”
After Hurricane Irma left parts of Florida in need of a massive rebuilding, some Frederick County residents answered the call.
Alan Caho, a Middletown resident and retired Frederick County sheriff’s deputy, recently returned from Immokalee, Florida, where he and other Maryland members of Southern Baptist churches were engaged in recovery efforts.
“The folks down there are pretty resilient,” Caho said. “But looking at rebuilding and starting over again, especially with the older population, that is a lot for them.”
BAPTIST PRESS: “Church rallies after hurricane to serve Fla. community”
IMMOKALEE, Fla. (BP) — Inside a gym with yellow walls, 200 volunteers form an assembly line. These helpers from First Baptist Church of Immokalee, Fla., are bagging food and cleaning supplies in the church’s gym because it’s one of the few buildings left standing after Hurricane Irma reduced the already-impoverished area to even less.
“Our awesome volunteers are inside and outside the church manning all kinds of stations from bagging to distribution so that when people’s cars pull up, they can get everything they need,” said Jessica Pigg, wife of senior pastor Timothy Pigg. “They’ll get a bag of groceries and canned goods, a bag of snacks, bananas and a hygiene kit with toiletries and other necessities.”
Update (September 26, 2017): Emmanuel Church-Huntingtown in Fla.
Update (September 23, 2017): PUERTO RICO DEPLOYMENT
Please pray as we seek to mobilize trained MD/DE DR volunteers for a difficult deployment to Puerto Rico. (Matthew 22:39)
Maryland/Delaware Baptist Disaster Relief has been asked to deploy a feeding team in partnership with our Region 1 partners. (These partners would be the Virginia, Penn/South Jersey, New York & New England conventions.)
The Kitchen unit from Penn/South Jersey will be shipped over to the island and will need teams to support the unit. We need 25 volunteers per team. Please know that work conditions will be difficult, but FEMA is arranging to lodge on either barges or cruise ship (meals for volunteers will be on the same). FEMA is paying for airfare as long as volunteers can commit for a two-week rotation.
It is important to know that we only need feeding teams and we will be taking the first 25 volunteers. The first team will likely be the first week of October.
You can register by going to this link:
Update (September 23, 2017) Weekend Video Testimonies
In the following videos, Doug DuBois interviews Tanya Joy, Linda Hebert, David Gass, Mako Kneale and Wendy from First Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, about their experience doing disaster relief (working in the laundry unit, putting on tarps on residents’ homes, sharing about Jesus) in the Immokalee, Fla., community affected by Hurricane Irma.
Update (September 22, 2017): Prayer Request
Update (September 21, 2017): A great testimony!
Update (September 20, 2017): FBC, Immokalee, Fla., video interview
Pastor Timothy Pigg of First Baptist Church, Immokalee, Fla., interviews Doug DuBois, BCM/D’s state director of disaster relief about all the relief efforts taking place in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Update (September 20, 2017): First Baptist, Laurel, donation drive
Update (September 19, 2017): On location in Florida, Pt. 2
Update (September 19, 2017): On location in Florida, Pt. 1
Update (September 18, 2017): Video Update
Update (September 16, 2017): Deployment to Florida
All of our units have been deployed to FBC Immokalee in Florida. Please keep all of our 35+ volunteers and their travel in your prayers. It is looking like we will be in this area for the next few weeks or more.
From Doug DuBois: As of today, 9:48 am, I have a laundry unit leaving tonight at 5:00 pm and arriving at the church tomorrow afternoon. I have a feeding team (possibly the feeding unit) and one recovery unit departing tomorrow morning at 6:00 am and should arrive ready to begin assessment and work on Monday mid-morning. The other three recovery units and teams will leave on Sunday and will arrive Monday evening. All units will have complete teams. I also am lining up teams for replacement starting Sunday the 24th. I am personally bringing our shower unit and will arrive also late Monday. I am following up last just in case there are any mechanical problems with any units on their trip.”
Thank you to the following units that are deploying:
Lynnhaven Baptist – a recovery unit & our BCMD feeding unit
Potomac Baptist Association – recovery unit
Blue Ridge Baptist Association – recovery unit
BCMD – recovery unit
FBC Upper Marlboro – laundry unit
Ocean City Baptist – Shower unit
Baltimore Baptist Association – feeding team
Update (September 13, 2017): Call for volunteers
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: According to Doug DuBois, BCM/D State Disaster Relief Director, between 50 – 75 Maryland/Delaware volunteers a week for the next month will be needed for deployment to regions affected by recent hurricanes. Deployments are set to begin on the Sept. 17, and so far, all 9 of the BCM/D’s DR units are prepared to deploy. Right now, there are only enough volunteers to fully team and deploy one or two units. If you are able to deploy, please visit online at https://md.disasterreliefonline.com to complete or create a profile, watch an introductory training video, and await instructions. If you have any problems, please contact Niki Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update (September 9, 2017): Deployment notification
From Doug DuBois (https://md.disasterreliefonline.com):
“Brothers & sisters, I am sending out this deployment notification in order to fill the teams that will deploy on or around Sunday, September 17th.
We have unit leaders in place for each of our BCMD Disaster Relief units and will need volunteers for chaplains, recovery/mud-out, feeding, shower, & laundry.
We are asking teams to commit to serving for one week at a time at a minimum, beginning on Sunday, September 17th. This would mean that the first set of volunteers would deploy with their unit on or around the 17th and could return on Sunday the 24th. We would plan to send relief teams to fill those spots as the first set of volunteers came home. This schedule of replacing volunteers with relief volunteers could continue through October as we meet the needs of those affected by the hurricanes.
As for the location of the deployment, we are unsure of the exact location at this time. However, the BCMD Disaster Relief units have already been asked to deploy, and we are just waiting for a location to serve.
If you can commit to serving on a team starting on the 17th, please let us know by replying to your text or email. If you can serve on a team in the coming weeks, please respond by logging into your profile and choosing a team in the Deployments section.
Once we assign you to a team, your unit leader will be in touch to provide you with the details on departure dates, travel arrangements, and location of your deployment.
Thanks very much for your willingness to serve and I pray that through our serving, many would place their faith in Christ.
BCMD State Director of Disaster Relief”
Update (September 2, 2017): How are donations handled?
BCM/D’s Disaster Relief Director Doug DuBois discusses the handling of Hurricane Harvey donations with CFO/COO Tom Stolle:
Update (August 31, 2017): Collection of material donations
In addition to financial donations, the BCM/D has set up three collection centers for material donations, which will be delivered to Fredonia Hill Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, a partner SBC church who now is regularly bringing supplies into the areas devastated by the storm.
Beginning Sept. 9, the following items can be donated on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at these three collection sites:
— Skycroft Conference Center, 9621 Frostown Rd, Middletown, MD 21769
— Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 35 Sylmar Road, Rising Sun, MD 21911
— Baptist Mission Resource Center, 10255 Old Columbia Rd, Columbia, MD 21046
Here are some items your family can bring:
- Adult diapers
- Baby wipes
- Children’s diapers
- Dog and cat food
- Female products
- First aid items
- Hand sanitizer
- Large trash bags
- Paper towels
- Peanut butter & jelly
- Sandwich baggies
- Sleeping bags
- Snacks (individually wrapped)
- Thin bed mats
- Toilet paper
- Water (gallons/bottles)
Thank you for your donations!
New and returning disaster relief volunteers can access training at https://md.disasterreliefonline.com.
Update (August 31, 2017): Download bulletin insert
Want to show your congregation how to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey? The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware offers a downloadable two-sided bulletin insert in both color and black/white for your use on Sunday. Click here for this resource.
Update (August 30, 2017): Where to give
State Disaster Relief directors were advised that volunteers and units may be deployed, by request, starting next week, but it is fluid due to the amount of flooding and damage that is preventing access to the area. Currently, the Disaster Relief teams from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Texas Baptist Men, and the North American Mission Board are only focused on Search and Recovery Tier 1 Emergency services. Until further notice, they are asking people to hold off all donations of items, because they still are unable to logistically handle them. FEMA has delivered tractor trailer loads full of water, so there is no need for fresh water donations at this time. Basically, until the water recedes, the best way to respond is to send Walmart gift cards or financial donations (accepted through the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware or directly to the Texas Baptist Men who is actively involved in the situation.
Update (August 28, 2017): Current conditions
AT THIS TIME, BECAUSE OF CONTINUED RAIN AND UNSAFE CONDITIONS… no Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team is able to deploy to Texas. Presently, only military and select first responders, as needed, have been allowed access to the area.
The emergency management teams from Texas and Louisiana are asking those who want to help to be patient until conditions improve. Due to the amount of damage that Hurricane Harvey has caused, deployments will be long-term rather than immediate. Volunteers may not be permitted until mid-September.
NAMB updates (ongoing)
In addition, consider these other four ways you can help now:
Sponsor a Crisis Response Bucket
You have two options:
You can donate funds toward NAMB’s Send Relief Crisis Response Buckets, which contain necessities to equip families impacted by disasters. Each bucket contains heavy duty cleaning supplies, protection, and tools for addressing the physical impact on a property resulting from water or wind damage. The easily distributed and durable buckets serve a second purpose as a storage vehicle for valuables. Each bucket costs approximately $50, so any amount you can provide is helpful.
Or you can gather materials for health/hygiene kits to be distributed as needed. Include in a two gallon zip-lock bag (whatever size the items will fit into is fine) or a 14 x 12 drawstring, cloth bag, the following items: A large bath towel, large comb (no rat tail combs), wash cloth, shampoo (full size), toothbrush (adult), soap (full size bar), toothpaste (large) and deodorant. Health Kit Supplies can be brought to the Baptist Resource Mission Center.
Prepare to Deploy
You and your church can begin preparing today to help provide the help that will be needed.
If you have ever served in the past as a disaster relief volunteer, it is important that we have your correct contact information in our Disaster Relief database. Go there to sign up for deployment, view an introductory training video, and await instructions for deployment.
In addition, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware will hold a Clinical Incident Stress Management (CISM): Assisting Individuals in Crisis training to be led by Dr. Naomi K. Paget, Chaplain and Crisis Interventionist, on Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. It will be held at: South Columbia Baptist Church, 8814 Guilford Road, Columbia, MD 21046.