GBSCNC “The First to Respond”
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First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, Queens, New York

We appealed to all of the Baptist Conventions  nationwide. The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was the first to say, “we are on our way!”  You were the first to respond to our need.

Rev. Patrick H. Young, Pastor First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, Queens, NY

It was painfully clear moments after Sandy had passed that my church, the First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, Queens,  New York, my community, and so many other churches in this region had taken a disastrous direct line hit from the hurricane.

We could not open our doors, it was not safe. Flood damage was everywhere. The damage was so extensive that many churches, who were always the first real responders to the needs of the African American community, could not respond to their own community’s desperate plea for assistance.

603 South Wilmington Street • Raleigh, NC 27601-2338
Phone: 919.821.7466 • Fax: 919.836.0061

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The hurricane reports started to come in that Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012, Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history

Estimates as of June 2013 assessed damage as being over $68 billion, a total surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina. At least 286 people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. The severe and widespread damage the storm caused in the United States, as well as its unusual merge with a frontal system, resulted in the nicknaming of the hurricane by the media and several organizations of the U.S. government  as "Superstorm” Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy slammed into Queens, New York and the Rockaways with full force that fateful Monday night, October 29, 2012, causing widespread flooding and power outages that had crippled neighborhoods and turned parts of Queens, New York and the Rockaway Peninsula into a wasteland. Thousands of customers were left without power after the monster storm for weeks, and more than 80 homes were destroyed by raging fire in Breezy Point, Queens.

This Area was Cut Off From The Rest Of  The World

“Our Churches were devastated by Sandy,” lamented Reverend Patrick H. Young.  “I was in constant contact with seven major churches in the areas of  Saint Albans, Queens, East Elmhurst Queens, Coney Island, Brooklyn and the hardest hit, Far Rockaway, Queens. All of them closed fearing structural damage from Sandy. Most of our churches had food pantries from which we fed our community, they were all flooded.

“This area of New York was cut off from the rest of the world. Without cell phone service, power or running water, thousands of residents came to the churches first, seeking help and we had to turn them away; most of our food and clothing pantries were under water. “

Our Churches Needed Missions Themselves

“We had no one to turn to for help, except our Baptist Conventions,” said Rev. Young, Pastor of First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst, NY. There was a sad irony in this appeal. Our devastated churches, which for generations were the first to provide missions to our community - now needed missions ourselves. Many people asked us why we and the other churches hardest hit did not appeal to FEMA, - we had, and found out there was a little know clause in the FEMA Charter,  which prevents FEMA from providing direct aid to religious institutions.  We had only our own Baptist Conventions to appeal to.

The first appeal was to our own, Empire State Convention of New York. Many of the churches that compose our Convention were themselves victims of Hurricane Sandy and required disaster relief. It was like appealing to the wounded for help for the wounded. Our Convention funds were were stretched to its limit.”

We Appealed To The GBSCNC - You Replied, We Are On Our Way!

“We appealed to the GBSCNC - you replied, we are on our way,” Pastor Young recounted. ”The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was the first to respond with direct financial assistance. In fact, you started the ball rolling and worked to get other conventions nationally involved. The GBSCNC also brought with it a spirit of hope. You let us know that we were not standing alone in our time of need. The churches from this region of New York can’t thank the GBSCNC enough.  Dr. Haywood Gray came personally to deliver the first of two checks, and told me in not so many words to inform the other churches to hold on, the GBSCNC will help - and you did.

The churches in this area still need assistance. “There is approximately $130,000 in additional work collectively that is still required between all seven churches hardest hit; but now there is hope. In a natural disaster such as Sandy,  it takes years to rebuild because membership falls off, relocating to other areas of  New York to seek safety and shelter and do not return.  The good news is we are still standing thanks to Convention partners like the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.”

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