Residents of Pinehurst in North Carolina have been receiving various forms of aid from local Baptist churches in the area following the Dec. 4 attack on the Moore County power grid that left some 100,000 individuals without electricity.
North Carolina Baptists to the Rescue
Russ Rowland, the Worship and Missions Pastor of First Pinehurst Baptist Church, told Baptist Press they allow residents to use their facilities as a temporary workspace.
"She's been here about two and a half hours working on her laptop, charging her cell phone and using our Wi-Fi," Rowland told Baptist Press about a woman who just left their church.
"Sunday morning we were without power. We set up a couple of generators to run a sound system and had church anyway. Very positive. It was a great morning," Rowland added.
The Baptist pastor added that as high as 75% of their members are still without power two days after the raid on the local power grid, which authorities currently investigate. On Sunday, only 150 members attended their worship, half their usual attendance of 300.
Nonetheless, Rowland explained they are remaining optimistic amid the experience.
"But they're making do. They're going to family's, borrowing generators to get refrigerators running. We had a great morning of fellowship with doughnuts and coffee and sausage biscuits. It was a fun morning," Baptist Press quoted him saying.
North Carolina Baptists' Disaster Relief Stations
Rowland's church currently hosts a Disaster Relief station of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. The other station is at the First Baptist Church of Aberdeen, which has yet to restore its power, unlike in First Pinehurst, where power was back on Sunday night.
According to North Carolina Baptists disaster relief coordinator Tom Beam, the station has a laundry and shower unit, plus a feeding station for residents affected by the power loss.
"First Baptist Aberdeen has no electricity. We've just got some extension cords and power strips coming off of the generator that's running the shower/laundry unit, that people can charge their phones as well. Twenty-four hours ago we put all this together. It's come together quite quickly," Beam told Baptist Press.
Aside from the two Disaster Relief stations in place, North Carolina Baptists said their volunteers eye distributing at least 3,000 packed meals on Dec. 6 and 7.
Beam said the meals would be dispatched to three pickup sites with the help of the American Red Cross. He added that despite over 30 Baptist churches in Sandhills Baptist Association lacking electricity, they still cooked and distributed hamburgers and hot dogs to affected residents. They also set up generator sets for those who needed to charge their electronic devices.
Additionally, the churches with electricity improvised to hold worship services despite the current situation.
"Those few churches in Moore County that had electricity and even those on some bordering counties, I know that they invited those congregations to come worship with them. And some congregations at least put the information out to their people to say, here's where we're going to worship today," Beam told Baptist Press.