Baptist disaster team to assist flood victims


An advance team from Baptist Disaster Relief arrived in Tallahatchie County Monday to begin assessing the needs of local flood victims.

Pastor Joe Young of Charleston, an area resource person for Baptist Disaster Relief, said the group is being housed at Camp Lakeside and will work in Tallahatchie and Grenada counties.

“The team is not here to repair anything, but they are here to help families conserve what they have until they’re able to make repairs of their own,” he explained. “The team will do such things as tear out wet carpet, assist in removing damaged sheetrock and, basically, anything that must be done before repairs can begin. That will save families a lot of money.”

Young said the experienced Baptist group is comprised of “trained and certified” individuals.

“Many of them worked in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes,” he noted. “They actually cleaned the dirt and debris out of apartments in New York City after 9/11."

Young said they will not charge any fee for their services.

“Baptist disaster workers will never ask for money or anything, and they will wear a recognizable cap, jacket and have a badge,” he noted.

Young said the team, working in concert with Tallahatchie County Emergency Management Director Thad Roberts and Sheriff Jimmy Fly, has compiled a list of 69 structures that sustained damage during recent flooding, but he said there are restrictions that will prevent them from assisting some people.

“There are certain laws and guidelines that Baptist Disaster Relief must go by,” Young noted.  “We are not allowed to repair mobile homes, because anything we do may further damage a mobile home.  We’re not allowed to assist businesses. We’re only allowed to perform relief efforts with family dwellings, and the occupant must be the owner of the property, because rental property is technically somebody’s business.”

To apply for help, residents may visit the registration center set up in the fellowship hall of Charleston First Baptist Church, Young said.

IN THE PHOTO: Members of the local Baptist Disaster Relief team that arrived in Tallahatchie County on Monday are (front, from left) Shane McGivney of Jackson, director of disaster relief for Mississippi Baptist Convention and coordinator of the local effort; husband-and-wife team Tom and Vicki Kilpatrick of Florence; and Jerry Bingham, missionary in Benton and Tippah counties and a former pastor of Paynes Baptist Church.  In back is Lowell Ingram, Baptist missionary in Tallahatchie and Grenada counties.  (Photo by Joe Young)