DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Already storm wearied, the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts are now keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Delta.
The storm adds to what has been an unprecedented year for the region, and the same can be said for the volunteers who can always be counted on for help.
“If I’m still rebuilding, still dealing with it: it’s months, it’s years to go through this,” said Rand Jenkins with Texas Baptist Men. “So when you see the news and things leaving you say ‘there goes my hope, there goes my help’, says Jenkins, mimicking the deflated shoulders he has seen so often among disaster survivors, “but, then we’re still there.”
And they have been for more than half a century: the volunteer-driven force, which also includes many women, answering the call to serve wherever disaster takes them.
“I’ve been to North Carolina, I’ve been to Florida, and when people find out that ‘you came all the way from Texas to help me?’ Absolutely. That’s what Jesus sent us to do,” said Joe Crutchfield, a volunteer who describes himself as semi-retired.
For almost a decade now, Crutchfield has served with Texas Baptist Men, working with the feeding teams. It is his way of putting his hands, as well as his heart, into ministry. “People need something to eat, people need a cold glass of water, they need something to drink.”
Crutchfield has spent three of the last four weeks in Orange, Texas and he’s not done, as Delta could be next. As of Wednesday evening the TBM State Feeding Team had been placed in “standby” mode, which means they will likely be in the first wave of volunteers responding to Delta. The unit can serve 35,000 meals per day.
“When it happens to them, they don’t even know which way is up,” said Crutchfield. “When Texas Baptist Men comes in, we provide them with hope and that someone has a plan.”
Staffers say COVID-19 has been an additional challenge with extra costs to provide transportation and housing while also social distancing. Still, they say the crisis has also brought a windfall of volunteers.
“There are things in my life I can’t do anything about,” said Jenkins. “There are things in my country I can’t do anything about. But, there are there are neighbors I can go and help.. and these little steps we can take, it’s humanity at it’s best. It’s Gods love at it’s best.”