Macon churches feeding victims, helping with cleanup

The Macon Baptist Association will be setting up its evangelical emergency response trailer later this afternoon at Glenwood Hills Baptist Church, 3225 Rice Mill Road, to begin feeding those whose homes were damaged in the Bloomfield and Pio Nono Avenue area of south Macon and rescue workers assisting in the cleanup.

Kathi Kestler, the association's ministry center director, said the trailer will be in operation from 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. daily, for as long as help is needed.

She also said the Macon Baptist Association, which has 53 member churches, will be forming cleanup teams that will be available to help with clearing fallen trees and debris from residents' homes and yards. Those in the area needing assistance should call 750-9114, 284-3703 or 960-0062.

Todd Taylor of Samaritan's Purse, a non-denominational ministry of Franklin Graham based in North Carolina, said it was setting up headquarters for its disaster relief teams at Bloomfield United Methodist Church, 5511 Bloomfield Road, today and should begin sending out cleanup crews Wednesday.

Taylor said Samaritan's Purse volunteer cleanup crews can cut up and remove trees and other debris and provide tarps to cover damaged roofs. They provide the service free of charge to homeowners, focusing first on helping the elderly, infirm, single mothers, emergency workers and military families. They do not work on commercial or rental property, however.

"We'll have crews from Americus, Florida and North Carolina to begin with, but we'll have others from all the surrounding states before we're through," Taylor said.

He said the teams will be in the area a minimum of two weeks but will stay as long as needed.

Those seeking assistance should visit the Samaritan's Purse command trailer that is parked behind the Bloomfield United Methodist Church, or they can call (828) 719-5242. Those wishing to volunteer to help should visit the command trailer.

Lizella Baptist Church began serving hot dogs and hamburgers to relief workers and area residents at lunchtime today. The Rev. Shannon Back said the church, which received some damage but not enough to stop it from operating, will probably continue serving meals Wednesday and as long as power is out in the general area.