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Faith Based Disaster Shelters have State Support

On Thursday, religious leaders joined hands with emergency responders to talk about disaster relief in Springfield and the state. Governor Nixon opened up the conference. KSMU’s Adam Hammons has more on how the state of Missouri is helping religious organizations become a safe haven during disaster situations.

For places around the country, and especially here in the Ozarks, natural disasters occur several times a year. Whenever these ice storms, tornadoes, and floods do attack our homes, families need a place to stay.

In previous years, religious organizations have been that home away from home. The state has recognized this, and is now taking steps to make these churches, synagogues, and other faith based organizations more involved in relief efforts.

Greg White is both the Cole County Sheriff and a pastor in Jefferson City, and he’s been holding regional conferences in churches all over Missouri explaining how the state will be cooperating with these faith-based groups. White explains the benefits of this relationship.

“It’s really an interrelationship, and it takes the communities of faith and the action that they can perform in sustaining our society during the times of disaster and interrelating that with government response. So we have one total whole.”

White also explained that the state will help out by making sure religious groups have enough materials, making sure they know what to do during a disaster, and making sure they know how to take care of the families that will be coming to them.

White also said that churches have been giving “overwhelming support” to the idea.

William Doubek, the pastor of the First Lutheran Church in Neosho, gives his opinion on the partnership and the conference.

“For us it’s great to see the governor and the state supporting our efforts as church people, and having all of these opportunities for people to come in and learn what resources are available, (and) to get some instructions on how to handle different disasters. We’re all behind it.”

Governor Jay Nixon kicked off the regional conference, telling the attendees that faith-based organizations play a vital role in emergencies by responding to peoples’ needs, and by giving them hope. The governor quoted scripture from the Bible about Jesus taking care of “the least of these,” and said all faiths, including Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, uphold the virtue of charity and serving others.

For K SMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.