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Serving Together
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Carl Kologie, Public Affairs Volunteer
June 25, 2008

The Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention once again honors its motto, Serving Together, through their partnership with the American Red Cross and its disaster relief efforts. Working through the Trinity Baptist Church in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, Southern Baptist volunteers prepared more than 14,300 meals since opening a kitchen on June 13.

David Wedekind, state disaster relief director, speaks with joy of the cooperation and teamwork between the two organizations. The results are a very tight-knit and efficient operation to feed thousands in a large area over a short period of time.

According to Wedekind, every Baptist volunteer goes through intensive training before they are assigned to a disaster. "We stress to our volunteers the role of the Red Cross and ask our volunteers to help get the word out on what they do," he said.

"We even encourage our feeding people to ride in the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle to understand and be a part of the experience. This goes a long way in building our partnership," Wedekind concluded.

Cooking is not the only function performed by the Southern Baptists. Since they were organized in 1967, the teams are trained in outreach activities like clean up after floods, which they refer to as "mud-out." They have chain saw teams for tornadoes and damaging winds clean up. They also provide counseling for stress or spirituality, child care, showers, laundry service and water purification.

These volunteers proudly wear their Serving Together pins on bold, yellow shirts. Men, women and youth pay for their training and all expenses incurred while responding to a disaster, including transportation and lodging, through mission offerings and personal donations.

The American Red Cross depends on organizations like the Southern Baptists to help with its disaster relief operations. No disaster is ever the same and to have Southern Baptists trained extensively in different areas is a tremendous asset to the Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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