Southern Baptist Disaster Relief receives $400,000 from the state of Florida

SARASOTA, Fla. (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has received $400,000 in funding from the Florida Disaster Fund to assist state residents with relief efforts following Hurricane Ian’s landfall in Southwest Florida on Sept. 28.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announced at an Oct. 21 press conference that SBDR is one of several nonprofits to receive funding as hurricane relief efforts continue in the state.

“We are excited to complement the efforts of nonprofit organizations that are on the ground helping Floridians navigate the challenges of rebuilding after Hurricane Ian,” she said.. “By leveraging the charitable contributions of the private sector and the thousands of generous Americans who have donated, we are providing real help to Floridians in need.”

David Coggins, director of Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, expressed appreciation for the funding.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announced $400,000 in funding for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, one of five nonprofit relief organizations to receive such a cash donation as Hurricane Ian relief efforts continue in the state.

“This gift is a very generous gift and [a] recognition from the office of the First Lady for the value that Florida Baptist Disaster Relief and the greater Southern Baptist Disaster Relief community bring to the state’s efforts to bring aid to the citizens of Florida in times of crisis like this,” he said.

“We greatly value our partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management as well as our expanded partnership with the Office of the First Lady. Recognition of the efforts of our volunteers to bring Christ’s hope in the midst of this devastation has certainly been acknowledged by our state leadership with this generous gift of resources.”

Coggins said some of the funds will be shared with the numerous state conventions that have sent SBDR teams to help with relief efforts in Florida.

“We will work with SBDR through Send Relief to send some of the donations to these states,” he said.

Florida Baptist Disaster Relief began within 48 hours of Category 4 Hurricane Ian hitting Southwest Florida, and the effort will continue for months.

During the DeSantis press conference, Rich Rigdon, operations manager for Florida Baptist DR, said that in the first 20 days after Hurricane Ian made landfall, SBDR served more than 600,000 meals to those affected by the hurricane.

“It’s not done yet,” Rigdon said. “We continue to do so. We carry out real estate appraisals. Going out. We do tree work; we make mud; we mitigate mold; we take care of tarpaulins and roofing. And we meet spiritual needs and share Christ.

“We are blessed to receive this kind gift. It’s so incredible to work with the state and have a state that has done so well trusting us to be good stewards,” he said.

In response, DeSantis recounted her own experience walking alongside the SBDR group, representing several state conventions, helping with hurricane relief efforts in Southwest Florida.

“Watching your operation in action, seeing them getting food, putting them together, going into the neighborhood,” she said. “You had a laundry where people could wash their clothes. You thought of everything. And to see you come from such a great distance to help people in need and the smiles you put on people’s faces when they saw you coming with open arms and food and other supplies was truly something to behold.

“We appreciate all that you and your organization have done.


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