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05-14-2013


UC Joins Collegiate Disaster Relief Ministry

 


Williamsburg, Ky. - When disaster strikes, some of the first to respond to help are the dedicated Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers. Kentucky has an active disaster relief program which works in concert with similar programs in other states and the University of the Cumberlands (UC) was eager to become a part of the help.

The Kentucky Disaster Relief, a part of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC), has a program called the Collegiate Disaster Relief in which the University of the Cumberlands participates. This is an ongoing ministry and UC is one of five Kentucky schools involved. The other participating schools include Morehead University, Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Louisville. The director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, Coy Webb, and participating school’s BCM directors such as Dean Whitaker from UC, is collaborating to gather more students, faculty, and staff in order to provide a large, effective group of volunteers to help in the event of a disaster. “The focus right now is to get as many people trained as possible and ready to respond,” said UC’s BCM Director, Dean Whitaker.

The University of the Cumberlands became a part of the Colligate Disaster Relief ministry in February 2013 when they first started training. Training is necessary for anyone who wants to volunteer their time and helping hands in this ministry to disaster victims around the world. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are required to be recertified every three years. In order to be eligible for recertification, all volunteers must complete training and submit to a background check. All volunteers must be eighteen years old or older in order to serve. UC currently has twelve participants but are always looking for more people to train to be prepared to serve whenever disaster strikes.

Kentucky volunteers can staff feeding units designed to deliver thousands of hot meals on quite a short notice, move in with chainsaws to help remove debris caused by the storms, do the dirty work of helping families remove mud from flooded homes, and provide many other common disaster relief services. The Collegiate Disaster Relief does so much more than simply rebuilding and performing cleanup duties. They also make certain to discuss God’s love with the victims and others participating and do what they can to develop and improve their relationship with Jesus Christ.

“One component of Collegiate Disaster Relief that is an exciting opportunity includes students serving for a year or longer in Sub-Sahara Africa doing ministry with women, children, and families who have survived natural disasters-mostly famine,” explains Dean Whitaker. “UC graduate and semester missionary with UC’s BCM, LeAnn Wright, is praying about going to Sub-Sahara Africa to work with women whose lives have been impacted by disasters. She was selflessly involved with mission work as a student at UC and served others at the hand of the Lord. It is amazing that LeAnn is wanting to journey so far from home, to an unknown territory, to fulfill a calling that has been placed on her heart and mind. God’s grace has touched her and she will share that love with others through her experiences and possible travels.”

The Collegiate Disaster Relief ministry was in full active force this past spring break as UC sent several student volunteers to serve in Staten Island, New York to help clean up the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. “The people we worked with were amazed that we would want to spend our spring break there helping them,” said team leader, Christen Dierken. “I never really thought anything about it. That is exactly where I felt I should have been and I’m glad I did it. I was overwhelmed with their appreciation.”

God is continuing to work in the hearts of UC’s students and BCM as they make plans to collaborate with others, train, and become more prepared to effectively respond to disasters as they occur. Even though UC is new to the Colligate Disaster Relief ministry, amazing changes have already been made. Unfortunately, natural and man-made disasters will continue to happen around the world and people will be faced with crisis and in dire need of assistance in various ways. UC’s Collegiate Disaster Relief hopes to help these victims rebuild their lives, clean up their mess, provide food and shelter, comfort, love, and show them through words and actions that God is good and hopefully lead them to salvation.

Anyone interested in Disaster Relief can visit www.kybaptist.org/dr or make a contribution to make service possible for participating volunteers. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”- Galatians 6:2.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit www.ucumberlands.edu.