Germantown Baptist Church, in conjunction with the Red Cross and the Mayor's Task Force, is opening its doors to aid those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Beginning Friday morning, the church will provide meals, cots, recreation facilities and other services for as many as 400 people. Currently the church is delivering meals to victims in local hotels, and accepting monetary and material donations to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
"In the aftermath of this tragedy we must do all we can to help our friends survive from one day to the next," explains Dr. Sam Shaw, Senior Pastor of Germantown Baptist Church. "As a church, we're moving as quickly as we can to assess the need and assemble the necessary resources to properly meet the need."
Since Monday the church has been working with relief agencies to determine the most effective way to mobilize its efforts. A number of the church's members are trained disaster relief workers, and are coordinating with Bellevue Baptist Church's disaster relief teams and the Red Cross to supplement ongoing relief efforts. Teams will depart for devastated areas as early as this weekend. The two churches will offer disaster relief training on Tuesday night at Bellevue Baptist Church for those interested in assisting with relief work.
Germantown Baptist Church invites members of the community to drop off supplies to fill freight trucks that will be parked on-site beginning Friday. Volunteers are also needed to help prepare meals and meet the needs of guests who will be using the facility as temporary shelter.
"There is an immediate need we must meet," says Dr. Shaw. "People need the basics—food, water, clothes, shelter, a bed, medical care. At the same time, we must realize this is going to be a long-term effort, to rebuild lives, homes, infrastructure, grief recovery. We must do all we can to respond now, and formulate sensible plans for a sustained effort."