Cedar Grove Becomes Disaster Relief Resource

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
One hundred and fifty disaster relief volunteers gathered at Cedar Grove Baptist Church near Warsaw on Friday and Saturday to learn more about how to help victims of natural disasters.
“The Missouri Baptist Convention has eight regions and four training sessions are offered each year.  This year Warsaw was selected as one of the sites and we were happy to host the event,” Cedar Grove Baptist Church minister Barry Edwards explained.
Each of the volunteers must have a background check and be trained before they are sent to a disaster area.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams respond to fires, ice storms, tornadoes, damaging winds, hurricanes, and flooding across the United States. SBDR is one of the three largest relief organizations in America and includes flood cleanup efforts and long-term rebuilding in the wake of flooding. Southern Baptist volunteers prepare most of the meals distributed by the American Red Cross and provide many other disaster services. Southern Baptists have more than 1,550 mobile disaster response units on call for local, state, and national emergencies, with more than one hundred thousand trained volunteers scattered across the nation.
Incident Management Training involves people who run things on site.
“After a disaster, the volunteers arrive and a Blue Hat Leader of a team must assess what needs to be done and then assign different duties,” explained Cedar Grove Associate Minister David Mifflin.  “Mud Out is one of the groups in which volunteers go in and get the mud out of buildings.  Furniture, carpeting, insulation, sheet rock all have to be pulled out before any repairs can be made.”
Other disaster groups include chainsaw units which are groups who use chainsaw to cut trees which have fallen around buildings and need to be removed before further work can be done.
Miffin served on a disaster team in Joplin after the tornado which destroyed much of the city.
“Our team arrived in Joplin three days after the tornado and one of the items that the victims needed was hard soled shoes because many were just wearing tennis shoes and flip flops when the tornado occurred,” said Miffin.  
The classes that were offered during the two day event included:  assessment, blue hat, chain saw, chaplaincy, child care, communication, IMT, mass care, mud out, shower and laundry and product sales.
Mifflin stated that there is also a need for spiritual and emotional support during a disaster.
“We have one or more chaplains involved with each disaster relief team because a physical disaster involves more than just physical damage,” said Miffin.
In 1967, Southern Baptists responded when Hurricane Beulah ravaged the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas coast, leaving thousands of victims homeless and countless towns and cities damaged.
Since then, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has grown into a nationwide network capable of responding worldwide.
Since 1986, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Disaster Relief has grown from a handful of volunteers to a mighty force of responders.  They have answered the call to countless disasters in Missouri and around the world.  Missouri is known as one of the premier SBC DR states.
Missouri offers about 2,000 trained and credentialed volunteers. These volunteers (called Yellow Shirts) are equipped and ready to answer the call of any type of disaster.. They work with 42 Southern Baptist Convention state conventions to advance the gospel in the middle of crises, whenever, wherever, however.
Today, SBDR units from around the country send kitchen, shower and laundry units to disaster sites, along with the hundreds of volunteers required to operate them.  In storms, hurricanes and tornados, volunteer chain saw and flood clean-up crews also deploy to assist those in need.  In just the first week of response after Hurricane Florence, for example, disaster relief units from at least nine state conventions  set up feeding units or were preparing to do so for storm victims and emergency workers.
In 2018, SBDR volunteers have prepared 2.2 million meals for disaster victims in the United States.
“The Red Cross sends the food then SBDR volunteers prepare the food and get it to those who need it,” said Miffin.  “The food distribution has to be organized to get it to the most people with the least waste.”
For more information contact Dwain Carter, MBC disaster relief specialist by calling 800-736-6227 ext. 314 or by email at dcarter@mobaptist.org.