Strangers become friends as volunteers lend a hand


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Volunteers with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Disaster Relief Alabama Task Force are out lending a helping hand in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally along the Gulf Coast.

“We’ve got about 300 people out today (Sunday) and are expecting to double that by tomorrow (Monday),” said John Hayes, SBC incident coordinator, who oversees relief efforts in Baldwin County.

The group has set up staging areas at the First Baptist Church in Robertsdale and at the First Baptist Church in Gulf Shores and were in the process Sunday of setting up at the First Baptist Church in Bay Minette.

They also have one staging area in Mobile, “but our primary focus right now is in Baldwin County,” Hayes said.

Volunteers come from throughout the south, Hayes said. Currently they have volunteers from throughout Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida.

“Our goal is to always get volunteers from as close as possible,” Hayes said, “then we expand from there until we get enough volunteers for what we need.”

The biggest focus right now is on the chainsaw crews, Hayes said, cutting and hauling away tree limbs. They also put blue tarps on homes with roof damage and perform “mudouts” going in and cleaning out where homes have been flooded.

“We don’t go into anyone’s yard unless we’re invited,” Hayes said. You can sign-up at any of the staging areas.

One resident helped by the Disaster Relief Alabama Task Force was Nita Molyneux of White House Fork, who had numerous trees fall all over her yard, one on her house.

“In the middle of this disaster, my family experienced one of the best days we have ever had,” said Deni Jones, her granddaughter. “A team from Baptist Disaster Relief from Tennessee came to my Granny’s and did an amazing job clearing tons of huge trees from her yard. I can’t even put into words what a blessing these eight people were to us.”

Jones said the group formed a quick bond and her family will forever be grateful.

“They felt like friends as we hugged them bye and they prayed with us. It’s been a day I will never forget.”

If you, or anyone you know, needs assistance with tree removal and clean up, tarping a house with roof damage or clean out from flooding caused by Hurricane Sally, please call the following number based upon the location of the need. Or visit

In Gulf Shores, call 334-261-8620 or email; in Robertsdale, call 334-261-8617 or email; in Bay Minette, 334-261-8648 or; in Mobile, 334-261-8616 or
Donations to the group can also be made through local Baptist churches, or you can contact the Baldwin Baptist Association in Silverhill.

“We can always use donations to purchase new equipment,” Hayes said.

Tina Covington with the City of Bay Minette contributed to this report.