Florida Baptists Disaster Relief

Fred and Kathy Edwards discuss the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry with the Rotary Club of Mayo.

MAYO — When disaster strikes, the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry responds to help counties in need.

Fred and Kathy Edwards, with Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, told the Rotary Club of Mayo at its Nov. 6 meeting, that the organization handles a variety of roles and functions when it responds to a disaster. That response then further helps the community down the line.

Kathy Edwards said the ministry has different groups within it, which include mass feeding, cleanup/recovery, rebuild, fire, childcare services, emergency response team/security, chaplain, logistics and administrative.

When any one of those groups of the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief jump into action, not only does the impacted community receive their assistance. That community will also receive a reimbursement from FEMA for the volunteers’ time and effort.

“When we show up, we don’t make money with the county, but our number of hours and volunteers get logged and turned in to FEMA so that the county that we’re lending support to gets reimbursed for the assistance we provide per head,” Fred Edwards said, a point that was seconded by Lafayette County’s Emergency Management Director Mark Land.

Fred Edwards told the Rotarians that he has worked with the ministry since 2001. He received his training in Gainesville that year and then when the terrorist attacks occurred on 9/11, he received his first callout with the group.

“Disaster relief is more for getting people out of the pews and out on the ground,” he said, encouraging those at the meeting to take part as well as spread the word about the ministry.

The group holds trainings in different areas of the state for those that wish to volunteer and complete the registration process, which includes a background check. The closest training to join the ministry will be held in Perry on May 16, 2020, at the First Baptist Church. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the training is set to last from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a $25 first time registration fee, and $20 returning volunteer registration fee.

For more information about the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry, visit https://flbaptist.org/dr-volunteer.

Kara M. Compo is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government, politics, law enforcement and first responders. ​

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