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TRBC, SBC of Virginia partner with NAMB to bring aid


By Amanda Sullivan

LYNCHBURG, VA -- In what is being called the worst non-hurricane related power outage in Virginia’s history, the SBC of Virginia and Thomas Road Baptist Church have teamed up with the North American Mission Board to offer relief to the thousands of Lynchburg residents without electricity. 

TRBC is offering its facilities for cooling, hydration and a place to rest. NAMB, God’s Pit Crew and Gleaning for the Word, a ministry of TRBC are helping to supply the church with bottled water and snacks.

“Main Street (in Thomas Road Baptist) is open for cooling and hydration 24/7 at this point,” Liberty University’s Chief of Police Richard Hinkley said.

Liberty University’s Reber-Thomas Dining Hall is also open to community residents for meals. The buffet-style meals may be purchased for $3 per meal. Hours of operation include today from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and 4:30 to 7 p.m.

“They are prepared to continue as long as needed and access will be assessed based on participation,” Hinkley said.

Many in the Lynchburg community are taking advantage of TRBC’s relief efforts.

“It’s a blessing,” Lynchburg Resident James Wright said. “They’ve offered us a place to fellowship. It’s just a good place to come and enjoy people and meet new people.”

“It’s great,” Jamie Gagnon, a Lynchburg resident, said. “I have my son with me, so we’re taking advantage of the water and meals.”

NAMB, which recently bought tractor-trailers is sending supplies. The mission agency is driving approximately 120,000 bottles of water and plastic sheeting to cover exposed roofs, according to SBC of Virginia’s Director of Mobilizing Mark Gauthier.

“I just want to say a special thank you to the SBC of Virginia as well as NAMB,” said Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of TRBC.  “I put out the call to the SBC of Virginia and, literally, within hours we were able to begin to meet the needs of the community. Together, we can make a difference that will impact our community for Christ.”

The disaster, although catastrophic, has allowed churches the opportunity to show God’s love to the community.

“The neat thing about this event is that it’s definitely a local church event,” SBC of Virginia Disaster Relief Director Jack Noble said. Every one of our churches has the opportunity to get involved. This is a great event for churches. They don’t need any training they just have to go be Christ.”

Noble is encouraging SBC of Virginia churches that have power to open their doors to the public. He suggests the churches host a movie or game night to promote interaction within communities, he said.

“The big thing is cooling, often you think it’s trees or food,” Noble said. “But more people die of heat-related catastrophes.”

In addition to TRBC in Lynchburg, the other SBC of Virginia churches acting as cooling stations are Hyland Heights Baptist Church, of Rustburg; Crossroads Church, of Roanoke; First Baptist Church, of Roanoke; and Grace Life Baptist Church, of Christiansburg.

Those looking to assist in debris removal or resource distribution are encouraged to contact their local area missionary or Jack Noble at (540) 521-6423.

The SBC of Virginia’s Disaster Relief ministry is “supported directly by the state Vision Virginia offering, the Cooperative Program and designated giving,” Noble said.

For more information on SBC of Virginia and its Disaster Relief efforts, or to donate to the cause visit www.sbcv.org.

Projected Power Restoration

According to Appalachian Power Company, the electricity is projected to come back on throughout the week based on location.

  • Tuesday night, July 3 - Floyd County
  • Wednesday night, July 4 - Bland, Carroll, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Wythe counties;
  • Thursday night, July 5 - portions of Bedford, Franklin, Henry and Pittsylvania counties;
  • Friday night, July 6 - Albemarle, Nelson and Patrick counties;
  • Saturday night, July 7 - Amherst County, as well as portions of Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell Craig and Roanoke counties

Residents in these areas are encouraged to stay cool throughout the week.

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