June 1 to November 30 marks the official hurricane season. Unfortunately, Florida’s geographical position is susceptible to these ferocious storms. After last season’s Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Bell Shoals was instrumental in assisting in the cleanup both local and afar.

“The effort included five plus mud-outs where we helped families pull damaged sheetrock, flooring and cabinetry from their houses so the houses could dry out and be rebuilt,” said Bobby Roberts, the pastor of Bell Shoals’ Adult Education and Missions. “Also, some of the funds raised at Bell Shoals for hurricane relief were donated directly to hurting families as a way to provide some help as they rebuild their homes and lives.”

The nearby city of Naples suffered a massive amount of devastation from Hurricane Irma. Bell Shoals dispatched volunteers to help with their recovery effort. Only a few days after Hurricane Irma made landfall, Puerto Rico took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. Bell Shoals mobilized three teams of volunteers through the Send Relief program, a ministry within the Southern Baptist Conventions’ North American Mission Board.

In preparation for this hurricane season year, Bell Shoals Baptist Church has gathered and equipped volunteers. The church will employ local congregation members to lend a hand in any required local relief efforts.

Pastor Roberts said, “We have a disaster relief trailer stocked with everything from chainsaws to pressure washers to shovels, hammers, gloves and much more so we are able to provide resources to the people who volunteer.”

The church is also preparing for hurricane recovery efforts that are further away again. Bell Shoals intends to launch volunteer teams through Send Relief.

“Over the past 12 months, two dozen or so Bell Shoals people have trained as part of Send Relief’s disaster relief training, so we are better prepared to send people to affected areas hit by storms this year,” said Pastor Roberts.

He continued, “The devastation was so bad last year that there was an all hands on deck mentality, but in many cases, the need requires special training, so we have even more trained volunteers ready to help if a need arises.”

For more information, contact the church office at 689-4229 or visit bellshoals.com. Bell Shoals Baptist Church is located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.