The new $30 billion state budget for the 2023–24 fiscal year that was approved by the North Carolina General Assembly last month includes a $5 million grant to Baptists on Mission to use for responses to natural disasters in the state.
The allocation is part of a series of directed grants to several non-state entities for specific purposes that are defined in the budget.
The budget passed both chambers of the state legislature in late September.
Baptists on Mission’s $5 million grant will be administered by the Office of State Budget Management, and the state budget stipulates that “These funds shall be expended only for natural disasters in this state.”
The Office of State Budget Management’s website states that “The North Carolina state budget may include legislatively directed grants to non-state entities. These grants provide a specific amount of state funds be directed to a named organization for the purpose described in the appropriations act in which the grant was included.”
‘Ready to respond’
“We are grateful to our state lawmakers and government officials for the generous grant included in the state budget,” said Richard Brunson, who serves as executive director-treasurer of Baptists on Mission. “Over the years, we have worked closely with and developed strong relationships with our state’s emergency management officials, the Office of State Budget Management and other state agencies in responding to natural disasters.
“Whenever natural disasters impact North Carolina, our team of trained disaster response staff and volunteers stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice to offer help and hope in times of crisis and calamity. These funds will go a long way in helping hundreds, if not thousands, of North Carolinians during their time of need.”
Disaster response is one of 19 different ministries of North Carolina Baptists on Mission, which is an auxiliary of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. The disaster response ministry provides numerous opportunities for individuals to minister to people who are hurting due to disasters.
Baptists on Mission has thousands of volunteers from across the state who are trained in various aspects of disaster relief and recovery. The organization owns an array of equipment, which includes multiple mass feeding units, mobile shower units, mobile laundry units and more that can be deployed to disaster sites. Baptists on Mission also owns and operates several mission camps and rebuild centers in strategic locations throughout the state that can house and feed volunteers.
During natural disasters, Baptists on Mission works with local, state and federal government officials as well as other response organizations to provide services like mass feeding, administration, logistics, damage assessments, search and rescue, debris removal, home rebuilds and more.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the start of Baptists on Mission’s disaster response ministry, which started with a response to deadly tornadoes that ripped through Red Springs in March 1984.
Through the years, Baptists on Mission disaster relief volunteers have responded to several major disasters in North Carolina, including hurricanes Hugo (1988), Fran (1996), Floyd (1999), Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018).
Baptists on Mission has also been called on to respond to other domestic and international disasters, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., in 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Ukraine’s war with Russia in 2022 and several others.
Today, North Carolina Baptist disaster relief volunteers are still working in eastern North Carolina to repair and rebuild homes five years after Hurricane Florence caused widespread damage and devastation to the region in 2018. Since then, Baptists on Mission volunteers have completed more than 1,300 construction jobs in the region, ranging from home repair and rehabilitation to total home reconstructions. The estimated value of the services provided by Baptists on Mission to homeowners affected by Hurricane Florence is more than $35 million.
Since 2018, Baptists on Mission volunteers have completed more than 6,600 jobs and served more than 1 million meals as part of responses to natural disasters in 32 different counties in the state.
The recently passed state budget also includes a stipulation requiring Baptists on Mission leaders to report to state government officials on how the grant funds are being used each year beginning in October 2024 until October 2028 or until all the funds have been used, whichever comes first.