A record 206 units from across the country have helped hundreds of thousands of Floridians begin the recovery process following Hurricane Charley’s 145-mph landfall, which cut a swath of destruction from Fort Myers northeastward to South Daytona Beach. Among them, the North American Mission Board reports, are nearly 3,500 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from 24 states who have helped prepare an estimated 800,000 meals and completed more than 3,000 cleanup and recovery projects since Hurricane Charley barreled through southwest Florida on Aug. 13.
The NAMB, an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, reports that nearly 110 units or teams are currently providing on-site relief and assistance by manning mobile kitchens and chainsaw crews, providing shower units, laundry services and childcare.
Coordinators estimate as many as 4,000 recovery jobs remain. And officials with the Florida Baptist Convention have tallied 32 Southern Baptist churches damaged by the storm, including three that were destroyed.
During his visit to Fort Myers and First Baptist Church in Punta Gorda, NAMB President Robert E. “Bob” Reccord commended the work of the Florida Baptist Convention for its coordination of the disaster relief response in the wake of Hurricane Charley. “The speed of their response was remarkable,” he said. “Their leadership and organization has made a huge difference to the victims of this storm, and their servant hood has truly been in the spirit of Christ.”
Speaking to volunteers from Florida, North Carolina and Virginia stationed at First Baptist Church in Punta Gorda, Reccord said, “We thank God for you. We are proud of you and we are praying for you.”
Reccord asked Southern Baptists to continue praying earnestly for physical, spiritual and emotional strength for the volunteers and victims.
According to reports, Southern Baptists are the third-largest disaster relief agency in the country behind the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, with more than 28,000 trained volunteers on call for local, state and national emergencies.