Posted on : Thursday June 28, 2018

CATONSVILLE, Md.—Catonsville Baptist Church (CBC), due to its centralized location, served as a command center and staging area for disaster relief workers to reach out to victims of the recent Memorial Day flooding in Ellicott City and parts of Baltimore. The church was abuzz with activity.

Catonsville Church served as a command center for Disaster Relief. Photo by Ellen Udovich.

CBC Pastor Chris Snider said seeing Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) volunteers, along with Team Rubicon (veterans who volunteer to help with disaster relief) and the Red Cross, collaborating together was very encouraging.

A few CBC members are DR trained and have been working in the area. Snider was pleased to see others members also lending a hand.

“A lot of college-aged students have been jumping in to help. That’s some­thing we want to champion,” Snider said.

Nicky Campson, who is majoring in early childhood education at Community College of Baltimore County, rolled up her sleeves and helped gut basements. One woman had a lot of water in her basement, and Nicky said she and others “sopped” up the water and carried the woman’s belongings outside, then worked with her to determine what was salvageable.

“One lady kept telling us we were God’s answer to her prayer,” Campson said. During their lunchtime, Campson and others brought the woman a whole pizza. “She told us she hadn’t eaten all day.”

In another woman’s home, a freezer in the basement had flipped on its side. “We cleaned up a lot of yucky old meat,” Campson said. The jobs overall were dirty, smelly, and a lot of work, but Campson was excited.

“I’d do it again,” she said happily. Asked about training to be DR-certified, she immediately said, “I’d love that!”
At CBC, Campson helps in the nursery and occasionally substitutes in children’s church. She also helps at special events as needed.

Some members of Catonsville Church are Disaster Relief trained. Others pitched in to help. Photo by Ellen Udovich

Another CBC young adult, 23-year-old Kevin Morris, cleaned out houses and basements, taking out carpet and furniture.

“I was shocked. I’ve never seen this street flooded,” he said. This was Morris’ first time helping during a disaster, and he said he was pleased to be able to help.

He admired the degree of cooperation between the workers. “They had good communication, and they were nice workers,” he said.

Morris is certified to fight forest fires and said he’ll consider volunteering for DR training.

Snider said the situation allowed seniors to get involved as well. Church member Helen Mays was trained in DR years ago but she’s not able to go out in the field. So she worked in the office answering phones and working on reports several days a week in the afternoons.

Catonsville Baptist Member Helen Mays helps in the DR command center during recent flood relief efforts. Photo by Ellen Udovich.

“It was interesting. It was amazing what those people do, it really is,” she said. As she spoke with people she got to hear some feedback. “People were so grateful for what was done for them,” she said.

Mays visited one of the ladies who had to have extensive work with five feet of water in her basement. “She was overjoyed. She said, ‘I can’t thank anyone enough for what they did for me.’”

Snider said volunteers were appreciative of the help and of the facilities, especially the showers. In addition to the church’s facilities, they had access to the Baltimore Baptist Association’s shower trailer parked on the CBC lot.

The command center was disassembled this week, but the church will continue to house teams as needed.