VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/24/13)—In response to a record-setting blizzard that hit South Dakota in early October, American Baptist Churches (ABC) has released a $20,000 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Emergency Disaster grant through American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) to ABC of the Dakotas.
The Oct. 4 storm blanketed western South Dakota with up to 48 inches of snow, leaving many ranchers with dead livestock.
“This disastrous blizzard was lost among the headlines of our government shutdown. As reports come in, livestock losses are adding up to the tens of thousands,” says the Rev. Randy Rasmussen, executive minister of ABC of the Dakotas. “Until a new farm bill is passed in Congress, no assistance is in place for those who experience catastrophic loss. How wonderful it is to receive some timely assistance through OGHS emergency relief funds! We are thankful for the quick response to our request, which enhances our efforts to show the love of Christ to those who are suffering.”
Rasmussen notes that livestock perished despite ranchers’ best efforts. “Many of the ranchers immediately took proactive measures to move their herds to ravines, shelter belts or other protective areas—even providing feed so the livestock would not wander away from these areas,” he says. “With the rain, freezing rain, up to 4 feet of snow, and freezing temperatures coming in such rapid succession, many of the livestock could not survive the conditions, even with proactive measures.”
In addition, Rasmussen reports of emotional damage suffered by ranchers. “To a fault, these people historically do not ask for help,” he says, “but they need our prayers and support.”
Donations designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing—Dakota Storms” can be mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
OGHS is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries, ABCUSA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.