How Disaster Assistance Works

-Disaster Assistance Mission-Update from Robert Tipps(Kensington Woods CoC) on our work after the Hattiesburg/Petal MS tornado.

Thanks Mike Baumgartner and Disaster Assistance CoC.

When disaster strikes, sometimes you do not know where to turn or what to do.

As a Church of Christ minister and early Retired Law Enforcement Detective I have witnessed tragedy and disaster on many levels. In my hometown of 32 years I was generally prepared for things that might happen. Mine and my wife’s family were close by, 32 years worth of friends, connections and assets were available. Not to mention the fact that I knew every deer trail and fishing hole in 500 square miles. Needless to say, when Disaster would strike, I generally had a plan or at least someone to call.

However, in December of 2016 my wife and I moved our family 6 hours away from our comfort zone in Winchester TN down to Hattiesburg MS.

Jan. 2017 disaster struck. An F4 tornado settled down and made its home on the ground for over 30 miles through Hattiesburg and Petal MS. Many homes were damaged or destroyed, and 4 lives were killed. Hundreds were effected.
I was in a leadership position but out of my element. I could have normally called the Mayor, Sheriff, or 1500 friends of mine to help others out, and be effective quickly, but this time it wasn’t available. People needed help, and other than PB and J’s and bottled water, I was in need of resources.

Our church leadership was placed in contact with Mike Baumgartner with Disaster Assistance church of Christ.
Mike brought his travel trailer and began working immediately. His trailer was available to anyone in the public to receive a FREE hot meal for breakfast or lunch.

Mike has a lot of experience dealing with disasters and disaster assistance. He gave lots of good advice and direction in some areas that we were not used to. Disaster assistance gave our congregation a resource to help feed people, make new contacts, serve others, and ultimately display the love of Christ.

Our congregation was given simple ways to help serve in little ways that resulted with large impacts.

Each meal was hot and simple. A person could receive an individually packaged simple meal without the need for a fork and eat on the move while they worked or helped assist others. Each meal had either a breakfast biscuit or burrito with a honey bun napkin, and one of our church cards. The lunch meals were either a hamburger, quesadilla, burrito, or chicken sandwich etc. along with a pack of cookies a napkin, and our church card.

We were able to easily feed people by the masses and give them an opportunity to connect with our church family.
The meals were easily handed out truck windows, delivered by the 20 at a time to a door if needed, and one morning I even tossed 6 up on a roof to some roofers for a quick lunch.
We fed victims, utility crews, work crews, police, fire, ems, city street and park departments, Volunteers, and Homeless, displaced families, and businesses, And people kept coming back.

For 2 weeks Disaster assistance stayed in the trenches assisting us to serve others. Different people with disaster assistance from all over the US came to volunteer periodically.

There were many wonderful organizations that pulled together to help, strong numbers were out on the weekend and we were able to feed them too. While these organizations were an asset to the community, it was a nice feeling that After the Red Cross, FEMA trucks, local and distant volunteers left the area, we were there still going strong feeding the community. The public noticed and reacted, and volunteers from the community wanted to join our efforts and they did.

We did not just feed these people physically, we also gave opportunity for them to be fed spiritually. Bible studies were set up, and several continue.

It is nice still seeing people today that I met with a sausage biscuit in a bag, and still see them in a bible study.
We still get calls from people that say… “we had your number on your card” (I know where that originated at -right beside a hot hamburger under a napkin)

We thank Mike Baumgartner and Disaster assistance for allowing us to connect to people in their time of need 7,535 times. That’s 7,535 meals, 7,535 cards with info about our church, and 7,535 times a church of Christ member exchanged a meal and the love of Christ to someone else.
7,535 seeds planted in 14 days.

I hope I never have to partner with Mike again in my hometown, But if disaster strikes, I know he will be one of the first to be called.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
(If you want to make life easier to assist Mike assist your congregation in case disaster hits your hometown, one simple thing to do is make a few RV hookups on your congregation property. If his trailer has power, then you have the power and resources to feed the world. )

In Christ alone,
Robert Tipps
Staff Evangelist
Kensington Woods church of Christ

We can continue to do this work of feeding hungry people whose lives have been devastated by disasters only with the financial support of our brothers and sisters across the U.S.

If you would like to help us with this work, donation information is located at

Please share this with all your friends. Thank you

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