By Jean Bihn
Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was at the ready for the Southern Baptist Convention held in Phoenix June 11-14. But rather than serve on site during the gathering, volunteers actually served other disaster relief crews from New Mexico and Utah/Idaho staying at First Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix.
The New Mexico Disaster Relief crew provided childcare for children of SBC messengers in attendance.
In addition to a place to stay, the out-of-state crews needed breakfast, snacks and a place to shower. That’s where the Arizona team came in — cooking breakfast for 70 people Sunday through Thursday and providing a banquet meal on Wednesday evening. In addition, Arizona and New Mexico provided shower trailers.
Patty Kirchner led the Arizona group. Kirchner, a “blue hat,” or leader, with Arizona Disaster Relief, has volunteered with disaster relief for nine years.
“The hardest part is putting menus together and doing the shopping,” she said. “The best part is getting to know the other disaster relief people.”
Seventeen volunteers in all worked in daily shifts to prepare breakfast. One of those volunteers, Brenda Anderson, traveled from Flagstaff, where she is a member of Greenlaw Baptist Church.
“We were going to be in the Valley for the convention anyway, as messengers, and I don’t get much chance to serve in disaster relief, so this is an opportunity to literally serve,” Anderson said.
Brenda and her husband, Alan, retired from the forest service. They have worked with Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief for six years.
“It’s just what we know,” she said.