by Sarah Vaughn
In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are stepping up and stepping out to help in communities impacted. ABSC DR volunteers exhibit the servant spirit of Jesus and passion to share the testimony of Christ by constantly answering the call to serve those in need. Time and again ABSC DR steps forward in crisis to minister on behalf of Arkansas Baptists.
Randy Garrett, Disaster Relief Director at ABSC said, “Last week the CDC contacted our national director, Sam Porter, and asked if it would be possible for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR), nationally, to help with food prep or food distribution for those infected with the virus or those in self-quarantine around the country.” Of course, they said yes to this planned opportunity.
On Friday afternoon, March 13, the Arkansas Foodbank reached out to ABSC Disaster Relief to ask for help putting together food boxes to be distributed to people impacted by the coronavirus. Less than an hour after sending out the call to Disaster Relief volunteers about this urgent need, 30 volunteers showed up at the Foodbank to pack 700 boxes of food.
On Sunday, March 15, Garrett again received a call from the Foodbank asking if they could deliver food to a family in Pine Bluff. So, a team delivered the food box to a Health Department distribution site, which in turn delivered to the family in need. That same day, Garrett also committed the ministry to help deliver food to schools. Again, Disaster Relief agreed to step up and meet the call to serve.
On Monday morning, March 16, a group of volunteers met workers at the Foodbank at 5:30 a.m. and took over 200 boxes to different schools in Saline County for distribution to families so they would not go hungry.
“What we’re going to do going forward is continue putting food boxes together,” Garrett said. “We’re going to deliver food boxes to distribution points either to the health department or other food banks or pantries around the state.”
There are 92 health department units around the state, and those are the points of contact for delivering food to the families affected. As the virus spreads, these distribution points will be greatly enhanced in the distribution of food due to the ministry of Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief.
If you’d like to know how you can help Disaster Relief in this time of uncertainty for many Arkansans, please call the Arkansas Baptist State Convention office and we’ll connect you with Disaster Relief. You can also email Keturah Quimby at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABSC DR is staffed by thousands of volunteers from around the state. This ministry is supported by the generous giving of Arkansas Baptists through the Dixie Jackson State Missions Offering. It is vital for Arkansas Baptists to continue to give in crisis to missions through their local church so ministries such as ABSC DR can continue to share the Gospel through serving those in need.