Multimedia Journalist

‘Yellow shirts’ offer disaster relief in Jefferson City

News Tribune/Danisha Hogue
atty Tuttle prepares dinner with Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief at Memorial Baptist Church in Jefferson City. Volunteering with her husband, Charles, they have worked mass feedings for the community after the tornado.

Volunteers are needed in Jefferson City after an EF-3 tornado hit the area last week. The Southern Baptist Convention set up base at Memorial Baptist Church and the organization gathered over 100 volunteers from around the state to tarp roofs and clear debris.

David Derden led operations beginning Thursday.

“It’s been wonderful to be able to minister to these people who have been affected,” Derden said.

Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief coordinates teams to send out each day of a disaster. On day five, volunteers were relieved that the rain that dropped temperatures early.

The rain also created slick surfaces for machines picking up logs.

Charles and Patty Tuttle, of Oakland Baptist Church in Clarksburg, helped clear the debris for days before switching to the mass feeding team.

“We started out doing chainsaw because I’m an old country boy raised all my life pulling the chainsaw,” Charles said.

Volunteers for 11 years, the couple said they feel called to give back.

“That’s what God wants us to do,” Patty said. “We’ve been given so much in life we need to give back… God wants you to go out and help other people like he did.”

When the American Red Cross determines there’s a need, Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief cooks meals and loads up emergency response vehicles for deliveries in the community. In roads that were closed, volunteers wheeled wagons and went door-to-door.

The organization is known by its yellow shirts. The Tuttles said Central Missouri has been fortunate to not have disasters often. This has created a disconnect from their neighbors in Jefferson City. The response has been positive once people understand who they are, they added.

“Southern Baptist and what we do, the yellow shirts, we’re known in other states, but we’re not known that much here in the states in this area,” Charles said.

Those who need services can contact the organization at 573-395-6886 or at Memorial Baptist Church, 1120 Madison St. in Jefferson City.

Untrained volunteers are also welcome in Jefferson City. Officials request a 7:30 a.m. arrival. Assignments will be based on safety and availability.

Two-day training for sessions staffed volunteers are done four times each year, with a variety of jobs for all ages. Volunteers are affiliated with churches in the convention such as Main Street and First Baptist Church in California.

“You don’t have to be retired; a lot of people think they have to be retired to do this,” Patty said. “… If you’re willing to do it, there’s a job for you somewhere.”

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