As Hurricane Ike takes aim at the Texas coast, Texas Baptists have begun mobilizing to meet the needs of people who may evacuate South Texas.
At the request of the state, Baptist Child & Family Services has opened shelters in the San Antonio area that can serve up to 3,000 evacuees with special needs, such as basic medical attention, support or attention.
Nearly 20 churches are prepared to shelter evacuees at the request of BCFS.
On Sept. 9, Corpus Christi officials called for the evacuation of all special-needs individuals from the area. Officials ordered the mandatory evacuation of one ZIP code in Galveston-area Brazoria County.
“We do not want to underestimate this storm. We will receive medical special-needs evacuees long before Hurricane Ike reaches landfall; the question is only when,” said BCFS President Kevin Dinnin. “This is a task that we take very seriously, and an evacuation that will take the entire San Antonio community.”
Texas Baptist Men has activated four teams—volunteers with the East Texas-Smith Baptist Association unit will serve in Bryan; the Bluebonnet Baptist Association Unit is serving in San Antonio and will be joined by the statewide Disaster Relief Mobile Unit; and another team of volunteers from around the state will serve in Laredo. Four TBM shower units also are activated.
The South Texas Children’s Home in Corpus Christi is closing its campus. Buckner International is monitoring the storm to determine whether to evacuate residents in Beaumont and the Rio Grande Valley.
On Sept. 10, Ike was a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds around 100 mph. It is expected to make landfall on the Texas coast Sept. 13 as at least a Category 3 storm. President Bush has declared a state of emergency along the Texas coast.
BCFS and TBM both were active when Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana recently. BCFS housed nearly 300 people with special needs. TBM provided nearly 25,000 meals for evacuees in Bryan, Lufkin, Marshall and Longview.
To support disaster relief, visit www.bgct.org or www.texasbaptistmen.org. Checks marked disaster relief also can be sent to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron, Dallas 75227 or BGCT, P.O. Box 159007, Dallas 75315-9007.