Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City Initial Response Plan

As you would anticipate, many are asking how our church plans to be involved in the response to the wake of pain and damage left by yesterday’s tornados.  Since minutes after the tornados struck we have been working on putting together a plan with our ministry partners.  While other options and opportunities will emerge over the next 24 hours, these are ways where we can respond right now.
Effective 9:00 am this morning – We will serve as the downtown/Midtown drop off point for canned foods for Feed the Children.  This food will be used in provide food resources to families as a part of the larger relief efforts.  We will operate the drop off point from 9am to 6pm for the next several weeks. We can use volunteers to assist in covering the collection box.  Please contact Beth Ogburn at bogburn@goodshepherd.com or on her cell phone at (405)537-6629 to volunteer for a one or two hour shift. Good Shepherd is freeing Beth to assist in volunteer coordination with multiple partners working together in the relief efforts.

In addition, we anticipate Feed the Children will be letting us know about the need for additional volunteers at their warehouse on Meridian here in Oklahoma City. The warehouse will also serve as a drop off point and the packaging point for food that will be distributed to those in need as a result of the tornados.

We are in communication with CBFO and have agreed to serve as a host site for teams that will come from out of state to assist in the relief efforts.  When the teams begin to arrive on site we will need hosts and kitchen volunteers to assist facilitating them.  CBFO will also be putting together local relief teams and we will advise you as they post volunteer needs and opportunities.

We are in communication with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association related to chaplaincy care and Samaritan’s Purse as a large scale disaster relief organization.  We have offered to serve as their host site for their engagement in our community.  If they accept our offer we will need hosts and kitchen volunteers to aid them in the work. 

By the close of the day we will have an announcement related to the scaling up of The Furniture Bank of OKC to collect furniture for those that lost everything.  We anticipate partnering with others to help serve as a central resource in providing furniture for those who will need it in the weeks and months ahead.  If you are willing to serve as a volunteer to help pick up furniture or help receive it at the Furniture Bank site on 10th Street please contact Brian McAtee at brianmcatee@fbcokc.org.  We are freeing Brian up to serve as the lead point in our relief response efforts through the Furniture Bank and as a host site for relief teams.

You can also give through the church to help provided needed resources for our response to this disaster.  First, your giving to the budget is essential right now.  We will be stretching our resources thin to help meet the various needs and opportunities placed before us.  Please give faithfully and strongly to our budget right now.  In addition, you can give online through the church to provide funding to our relief partners.  If you want to give to the relief efforts through our partners please note disaster relief in the comment section of the online giving form. 

We will also defer our Wednesday night Bible study and move into the Chapel from 6-6:45 pm for a prayer service for those dealing with broken homes, hearts and lives in our community.  Please feel free to invite your friends and neighbors to join us for this time of reflection and prayer.

I will update you in the days ahead with other options and opportunities to make a difference.  Thank you for your heart for God, for others, and for our community.

Grace and Peace,  Tom

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