On Tuesday NBC News anchor Brian Williams and reporter Harry Smith mentioned what they called the Faith-Based FEMA or Baptist Men.
Smith added, “As you and I have seen in so many different places in this country, if you’re waiting for the government, you’re going to be in for an awful long wait. The Baptist men, they’re going to get it done tomorrow.”
Williams agreed, “They’re already delivering food on the street.”
Baptist Disaster Relief teams are often some of the first to arrive at scene of disaster. Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams began arriving immediately after Monday’s tornadoes with feeding units, clean-up crews and chaplains. Director of disaster relief for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Sam Porter said that prior this week’s tornadoes 5,500 volunteers had been trained as members of the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams. According to Fritz Wilson, executive director for disaster relief at the North American Mission Board (Southern Baptist) teams from other states are expected to be helping in Oklahoma by the weekend. As of Wednesday,Texas Baptist Disaster Relief teams had been activated as well.
Baptist Disaster Relief began after Hurricane Beulah devastated the Rio Grande Valley in 1967. Texas Baptist Men realized there was need for organized and trained volunteers to respond in the wake of disasters.
Baptist Disaster Relief teams are organized by states and made up of trained volunteers. Southern Baptists respond to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters providing meals, recovery and clean up crews, child care and more. 100% of money donated for disaster relief goes to relief projects. No administrative cost, salaries are paid for with donations or even processing fees for on-line donations are paid for with donations.