Springfield | Disaster Relief volunteers are used to running toward danger or its direct aftermath. “With this COVID-19 response, it’s very difficult to find ways that we can run to that danger,” said Butch Porter, state director for Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief (IBDR).
This season traditionally finds volunteers on the road, traveling throughout the state and elsewhere to help after spring storms. But as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to restrict normal operations of churches and ministries, DR volunteers have shifted focus to meet urgent needs.
Porter said IBDR is currently supplying a laundry unit for the YMCA in Chicago’s Coney Park neighborhood. The unit, provided through a partnership with Missouri’s Disaster Relief initiative, will be onsite for approximately one month.
Volunteers are also working to supply needed supplies across the state, including masks in Chicago. Individual IBDR volunteers are making masks to send to church planter Bryan Coble, as are IBSA churches across the state. Coble and his team will use the masks to minister in their Irving Park neighborhood.
IBDR has also supplied toilet paper for the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, and meal supplies for a food pantry in Herrin, Ill. House of Hope posted a thank-you on their Facebook page for the 40-plus cases of to-go trays that will help them get meals to more people in need.
In addition to meeting those needs, IBDR is also preparing for future needs churches and care facilities will have as they begin to reopen. Illinois is one of the states that will receive a shipment of bleach solution from national Disaster Relief. Porter said it will be stored in northern, central, and southern Illinois until churches and other facilities need it. He expects Disaster Relief volunteers to be ready to help churches disinfect their buildings in preparation for in-person gatherings.
For more information about IBDR and upcoming opportunities to serve, go to IBSA.org/dr.
Photo: Disaster Relief volunteers deliver cases of to-go containers to House of Hope in Herrin. Photo from Facebook/Herrin House of Hope