Thomas McCuddy is Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Dublin, NC. Their surrounding counties have been devastated by Hurricane Matthew. There is still significant flooding and people are in need of resources and aide in rebuilding their lives after this devastating experience. During an interview with Pastor McCuddy, it became clear that one of the most vicious aspects of natural disasters is their ability to intensify the negative experiences of everyday life.
For example, First Baptist Fairmont recently lost their newly selected pastor to an untimely death. According to one report, he was making their church a community center for those effected by Hurricane Matthew, and just this past week he passed away leaving his church family devastated. Their Pastor was only 33 years old.
Hurricane Matthew definitely has had a devastating impact on the local communities in Dublin, NC. Thomas McCuddy and the congregation of Bethel Baptist are doing their best to rebuild lives, not merely provide relief.
Below is an interview with Thomas McCuddy that we had with him to find out about the extent of the devastation and how Bethel Baptist is doing what it can to be a light in the community.
What Church are you Pastoring?
Bethel Baptist of Dublin, NC.
Disaster relief for Bladen, Robinson, and Samson County. They are in Bladen.
What is the extent of the damage?
It has been 2 1/2 weeks. Many houses are still flooded and some communities are surrounded entirely by water. The high water levels requires many deliveries of food and water to be executed via canoes. Roads still have water on them, bridges are still out, Department of Transportation (DOT) has repaired major bridges, but Robinson County Schools are still out indefinitely because of the flooding.
The city of Lumberton (Robinson) is just now getting water back on.
What are some success stories?
We are targeting families that have been hit the hardest. One women that was significantly effected by the hurricane had five kids and was a single parent. Bethel Baptist was able to provide food, work materials for her job as a nurse, and provided a new computer system for the kids to continue doing their school work.
Trailer parks have been hit hard. One particular trailer park is still surrounded by water. We were able to deliver enough food and water to sustain 40 people (12 Families) for a week. The families are not able to leave the “island” for fear of their homes/trailers being looted.
The Disaster Relief Fund
The church has brought in nearly $6000 dollars in monetary donations and even more in physical donations. They are being intentional. They are determining families that have basic every day needs, food, water, toiletries, and who can’t make it out to the shelters and distribution centers to provide them with the means to continue living from day to day.
Bethel Baptist Church is trying to rebuild lives. A lot of churches will provide large meals and feed several hundred people, maybe even thousands. While those types of ministries are helpful and still needed, we as a small church are trying to help find people and support them in their need to be independent.
Many homes are not even salvageable. People are finding that it may be more cost effective to destroy their homes rather than salvage them. Often flood insurance will not cover this path to a rebuilt life and leaves many in financial ruin and difficulty.
What about Flood Insurance?
Many people don’t have flood insurance. Those who do, the insurance does not necessarily cover the contents of the house. There were many who had flood insurance and the materials and contents of their homes were not covered by the insurance and are in desperate need of a rebuilt life.
Water that Causes Fire.
In several instances, homes had their power cut-off by their power company in order to prevent electrical damage to the home. However, many homes had flooding still within their homes when the power companies turned their power back on, causing the home to catch fire and destroying what little they had left.
Why Are You Doing This?
To be a disciple of Christ, something inside you has to compel you to help people. The way we are doing this is difficult. Finding specific needs and meeting those needs specifically is exactly what Christ did for us. It is our desire to imitate Christ in meeting the needs of those in our communities as they are facing the challenges that have been brought upon them and their families. For updates on the efforts being made by Thomas McCuddy and the congregation at Bethel Baptist Church, follow Thomas McCuddy @FaithDefense.