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Getting your arms around Mississippi

 

Celeste Pennington

Help wanted: busloads of volunteers In a revolving door operation, volunteers like Jack McDaniel of First Baptist Gainesville have joined the Stone Mountain Baptist Association to provide steady relief for Mississippi Baptists. For four mornings, his feeding unit was up at 5 a.m., preparing 8,000-9,000 meals per day to be distributed by the Red Cross to flood victims throughout Pascagoula. Before each Georgia unit left, fresh volunteers arrived to pick up the task.

Want to help with Mississippi disaster relief efforts?

"We are still in the emergency stage," says Jim Richardson, Disaster Relief coordinator for the Georgia Baptist Convention. "First, our volunteers need Disaster Relief training." Georgia Baptists recently completed a Phase One training course for Disaster Relief October 8 at Central Baptist Church in Douglasville.

Next, Richardson directs individuals and churches to work through the partnerships being formed by their local associations. "This is so massive, that's the only way we can get our arms around it."

Already, Georgia Baptist Relief Volunteers in the Mississippi Gulf region have spent more than 5,000 volunteer days in the field after Hurricane Katrina. GBC volunteers have prepared and served more than 500,000 meals, cleared debris, removed mud and provided tarps for more than 2,000 homes. Childcare has been provided for more than 650 children.

Georgia Baptists' response is part of a larger Southern Baptist Disaster Relief effort in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. By day 22, 36 state conventions had activated 260 relief units preparing nearly 2.5 million meals and completing nearly 3,500 jobs from mudouts to childcare.

To register for Georgia Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Volunteer Training go to www.gabaptist.org and download a registration form. Donations can be made online.