ARKANSAS BAPTIST disaster relief teams have prepared 15,000 meals, provided 30 showers, several loads of clothes and more than 60 recovery/cleanup jobs for the victims of the April 27 tornadoes, Joe Garner, disaster relief director for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, told convention leadership in an email earlier today.
He said that 3,200-plus “Buckets of Love” containing essential items for tornado victims have been delivered to Central Baptist Church in Conway and that 50 volunteers are on site today at the church (Saturday) to assist with delivering the buckets.
“We have 50 volunteers going to Point of Grace Baptist Church in Vilonia today to help at their distribution center. We have 125 volunteers going to Center Hill to work in that community,” said Garner.
He added the teams are entering the “weekend state of the deployment,” adding that teams working in Mayflower this past week returned home as additional assessment is underway.
“I have a white cap coming in on Monday (May 5) to continue the assessment of the community and have two teams on standby, ready to come back should we need them,” Garner said.
He added that two teams would work in the Vilonia area today (Saturday) to continue with the cleanup efforts. “I have two more teams coming Monday to Vilonia and one leaving after today. This will give us three teams in Vilonia on Monday.”
The feeding operation and the shower and laundry unit are still on site in Vilonia, said Garner, who said the disaster relief team is evaluating additional cleanup methods that may include “bringing in small units with ‘skid steers’ to clean off slabs” of destroyed houses. “We are doing this in Vilonia and will begin to do this in the Mayflower and west Pulaski County/Ferndale area next week.”
Garner said Arkansas Baptist disaster relief deployment in the aftermath of the April 27 tornadoes that ravaged the central Arkansas towns has been a challenge, but leaders are resolute to assist the hurting and displaced in the name of Jesus Christ.
“This has been a challenge, as well as a new learning experience for all of us as we are having to rethink deployment and normal DR response,” he said, adding, “We are committed to helping the people where they are with the needs they have. We are here to do ministry and to share the love of Christ. Thank you for your help, prayers and support.”