By Carrie Harris
DECATUR, Ga.— The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Alabama CBF are responding to the devastating March 3 tornadoes in Lee County, Ala., in partnership with Volunteers of America and First Baptist Church of Auburn. CBF Disaster Response has also contributed financially to assist with initial efforts.
The tornadoes that tore through Lee county killed at least 23 people and left a deep path of destruction through the area, becoming the deadliest day for tornadoes in Alabama since 2011, according to a CNN report. Reports of damage include leveled homes as well as destruction to schools, businesses and cell towers.
As first responders continue to survey and assess damage, Alabama CBF Disaster Response Coordinator Paul McLendon, who also works with Volunteers of America SE created an initial response plan to get requested items to first responders in the area.
CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley called for Cooperative Baptists to participate in the work of healing through prayer and support for disaster relief efforts as needs are assessed further.
“In the wake of the devastating tornadoes in Alabama Sunday evening, I ask all Cooperative Baptists to join me in praying for families who grieve the death of loved ones and the many more who are struggling with significant damage to homes, businesses and way of life,” Baxley said.
“Pray also for church and community leaders who are already finding ways to offer grace and healing in the face of these violent storms, particularly the leadership of Alabama CBF and First Baptist Auburn, a CBF partner congregation just north of the area hardest hit. For now, the best way for us to participate in that work of healing, beyond our prayers, is to provide funding for disaster relief efforts. In the days ahead, as the needs become more apparent, we will communicate actively regarding opportunities for volunteers and teams to participate in the work of rebuilding.”
Terri Byrd, coordinator for Alabama CBF, expressed her heartbreak over the situation and was quick to coordinate efforts with those in the area.
“Our hearts are broken over the loss of life and horrible damage,” Byrd said. “We are not first responders, but we have already begun to evaluate ways we can respond.”
CBF Disaster Response Manager Rick Burnette will be working closely with Alabama CBF in the days and weeks ahead to meet needs and evaluate long-term efforts.
“CBF Disaster Response is working closely with Alabama CBF Coordinator Terri Byrd as well as Paul McLendon, Alabama CBF’s Disaster Response Coordinator, for appropriate assistance and support,” Burnette said. “Additionally, a $5,000 grant has been approved by CBF Disaster Response for the state organization to apply towards short- and long-term recovery efforts in Lee County. We expect that opportunities for additional CBF engagement will emerge as the full extent of damage and loss in Lee County, and beyond, becomes better known.”
CBF Disaster Response will continue to provide updates, including any call for volunteer efforts as information becomes available. If you would like to contribute toward tornado response efforts in Alabama you can do so by making a donation at www.cbf.net/give (comment “Tornado Relief — 17005) or by check to:
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
P.O. Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972
*include “Tornado Relief – 17005” on the memo line
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. Learn more at www.cbf.net.