Harvey donations surpass $2.6 million; DR reports 86,120 volunteer hours
June 8th, 2018 / By: Tammi Reed Ledbetter | Special Assignments Editor / comments
GRAPEVINE When Hurricane Harvey unleashed 132-mile-per-hour wind gusts and record-setting levels of rain in late August of last year, Southern Baptists and other organizations opened their pocketbooks by giving $2.6 million to help the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention minister to churches and individuals in the flooded region of the Texas Gulf Coast.
A report released by the SBTC on April 24 summarizes donations that include $500,000 from the North American Mission Board, $1,260,518 from state Baptist conventions, $368,723 from Texas churches, $153,598 from individuals and organizations within Texas, $239,288 from out-of-state churches and associations, and $167,881 from individuals and organizations beyond the state.
Nearly all the funds have been disbursed, providing $2,082,300 for grants to churches and pastors, and another $496,307 to meet other needs.
Trinity Baptist Church of Vidor is typical of those receiving grants, having sustained three and one-half feet of water throughout its facilities. “The sanctuary is completely restored and we are now back in our offices,” reported Debbie Ortego, financial secretary. Focus has now turned to the back half of the building to complete repair of kitchen and classroom spaces.
“God has blessed us greatly and immensely,” added Pastor Marvin Fuller. “We’re progressing, but patience is a virtue and we’ve got a long way to go.” Trinity Baptist is in the early stage of the SBTC church revitalization program.
Houston Northwest Baptist experienced extensive flooding with three to five feet of water throughout all of its buildings except for the worship center. The children’s building was damaged so badly that it was demolished. The student building has been remodeled to house nursery, special needs and elementary students while teenagers utilize a tent.
“The SBTC grant dollars are greatly appreciated and used for our ministry and rebuilding of our facilities,” stated Alan Bugg, executive pastor. “HNW is currently in the beginning stages of the remodel of the administration building and construction of a new children’s building.”
The SBTC grant also helped the church recoup the cost of the only drive-thru supply center in Houston. “Families literally drove onto our campus where we had various tents with supplies. They would tell us their need and we would load their vehicles,” Bugg said.
The church got involved in mud-out for hundreds of homes, provided short-term living expenses for many families and sent crews to help in the rebuilding process. Over 1,000 bags of clothes were laundered for flood victims.
Churches of all sizes were blessed by the outpouring of support through the SBTC. From First Baptist Church in Katy to the Cambodian congregation of Metrey Phea Baptist in Houston, funds helped churches purchase supplies to rebuild damaged facilities.
SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards expressed gratitude for the generosity of Southern Baptists. “Southern Baptist state conventions received funds from their churches to be sent for Harvey Relief,” adding that many state conventions chose to disburse those funds through the SBTC. “We are grateful for our partnership in the gospel with our sister state conventions. They made it possible along with the generous gifts of others to help rebuild churches and get pastors back into their homes.”
Disaster relief volunteers from Texas were deployed 8,612 volunteer days and clocked 86,120 volunteer hours. During that time they served 298,431 meals to first responders and victims of the hurricane. the SBTC operated 762 clean-up and recovery sites, provided care for 22 children, facilitated 9,600 showers and 6,760 loads of laundry, distributed 445 Bibles and 526 tracts, as well as presenting the gospel 494 times, making 1,667 spiritual contacts and recording 135 professions of faith.
Volunteers from 30 state conventions working in the area affected by the hurricane served 2.1 million meals to first responders and evacuees, facilitated 41,000 showers, managed 26,000 loads of laundry and completed 1,942 mud-out work orders. The 529,000 volunteer hours of service by DR teams from across the country is valued at $12.1 million.
The newly developed Texas Relief ministry that provided online training deployed 1,352 volunteers with another 86 to be deployed later. A total of 91 unique groups or projects were scheduled with 16 churches engaged in Texas Relief assistance.
As a follow-up to long-term needs of the facilities of churches and homes of pastors, Texas Rebuild completed 77 assessments and released 55 grants.