OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is sending hundreds of volunteers within the coming weeks to help provide relief in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Dozens of Oklahomans left early Friday morning along with equipment to serve those in need.
Oklahoma Baptists will be stationed at a recovery site near Daytona, Florida to focus on flood recovery. Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida and then tracked Northeast through the state eventually impacting the Daytona Beach area. So, there are hundreds of homes flooded there because of the storm surge.
“Most of the media is looking at Southwest and South Florida. The hurricane crossed Florida, came back out on the ocean at Orlando and moved north… So there’s a lot of flooding there,” said Sam Porter, interim state director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is prepared to stay there for up to six weeks.
“We’re there to help cut chainsaw trees that are broken and down. Get those out of the of the houses and other yards, but also the flooded places. We’re going to get those houses to where they can be built back… We’re going to have to cut sheetrock out, take all the carpet out, take all the obviously all the furnishings out, if it got wet. And it’s just an agonizing, slow process. We’re willing to do that as long as we need to,” said Porter.
One of the first stops is taking care of the Daytona first responders’ homes.
“They talked to the city, who’s most important? The city manager said, well, we have several first responders, firemen and policemen that are still patrolling and taking care of all that. But they don’t have time to take care of their homes,” said Porter.
Around 40 volunteers will be rotating every week for the next six weeks, that’s about 1,400 miles from Oklahoma City to Daytona Beach, Florida.
“Last time I checked, diesel is still $5 a gallon in most of our trucks here, so it’s going to cost several thousand dollars each rotation just to take care of getting them there. So, any donations would be great… Everyone that’s on that trip every week are volunteers. They are volunteers, members of Baptist churches all over Oklahoma,” said Porter.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has prepared meals for over 250,000 people and 50,000 meals just in three days this week in Florida.
“Normally Oklahoma does feeding, but we don’t need that in Daytona because all of the electricity for the most part is back on, and all the fast food is open in the southwest part of the state, but everything is still broken,” said Porter.
If you’d like to help support Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief in Florida, you can donate online here.
Saturday, October 15th, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief will be hosting a training at the Oklahoma Disaster Team Center if you would like to be a volunteer in Florida. It’s eight miles west of Piedmont on Highway three, the Northwest Passage. It starts at 8 a.m.