Organization has served more than 150,000 meals to workers, victims since May 20
MOORE, Okla. – It has been almost a month since the devastating storms tore through central Oklahoma on May 19 and 20, 2013. From the first moments of the statewide relief effort, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) and its disaster relief team have been working to restore the lives of their neighbors, family and friends.
In the weeks following the storm, the Oklahoma Baptist disaster relief center received more than 1,100 requests for help from families needing assistance. So far, the organization has fulfilled 1,035 of those jobs and is working diligently to see that the remaining needs are met.
“The response from our community and from our volunteers has been overwhelming,” said Sam Porter, BGCO disaster relief state director. “Our team has been working nonstop since the relief effort began, but the real shining light here is the faith and tenacity of those who have been affected by these storms.”
Newcastle resident Elaine Thomasson told the story of a friend who had received desperately needed help from the BGCO.
“My friend lives in a small group home and is the caretaker for three very handicapped young men who need constant care,” Thomasson said. “Within 24 hours of asking for help, there were eight BGCO workers at her house working on tree removal and other home repairs. One of the workers was a chainsaw artist and even cut the stump of a tree into a cross, which became a symbol of hope for the victims.
“This young man carving the cross was a gift from God, and proof that these workers are here being the Hands of Christ,” Thomasson said. “Thank you to the BGCO for being faithful. Thank you for being efficient and responding quickly. Thank you for your testimony to me, to my friend and to the communities that you serve.”
Specifically, BGCO volunteers in two dozen teams with heavy machinery have been clearing debris for homeowners, assisting in flood recovery and moving debris for FEMA pickup and more. In addition, the BGCO has served more than 150,000 meals to relief workers and victims since May 20.
“The outstanding faith of Oklahomans in times of trial is what keeps us going,” Porter said. “We will keep pushing until we complete the task at hand, until every Oklahoman feels at home again.”