October 30, 2005

WTF? Hurricane Relief effort

Anheuser-Busch has been donating loads of drinking water that they have canned in one of their beer lines (nine million cans so far). They have been trucking these to the southeast for victims of Katrina and Rita. And then, they meet Pastors from the Southern Baptist Convention who are running a food and supply distribution site. NBC-2 has the story:
Religious beliefs trump hurricane relief
Hurricane victims who wanted water had some difficulty finding it at a relief station in Clewiston Friday. The volunteer group running a supply center doesn't like the company that donated the water, so they decided not to give it to those in line for help.

Twenty-two pallets of the canned water, distributed free by beer company Anheuser-Busch, bears the company's label and members of the Southern Baptist Convention refused to hand it out to those in need.

Resident lined up for miles to receive food and water at the distribution point. But the water was left on the sidelines by the Alabama-based group.

"The pastor didn't want to hand out the Budweiser cans to people and that's his prerogative and I back him 100-percent," said SBC volunteer John Cook.

The SBC felt it was inappropriate to give the donation out, and they weren't happy when NBC2 wanted to know why.

"Why do you want to make that the issue? That's not the issue. The issue is that we're here trying to help people," Cook said.

No one disagrees with that, but the Red Cross says Anheuser-Busch is also trying to help.

The water has been available all along, but the SBC volunteers set it aside and few people knew it was available.

While the SBC is standing its ground, the Red Cross says water is water and they're now handing out the supplies.
The vice-president of operations for Anheuser-Busch, Mike Harding, released a statement on the donation Friday reading:
"As we have seen numerous times in recent years, safe drinking water is a critical need following natural disasters such as Hurricane Wilma. At the request of various relief agencies, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have donated more than 9 million cans of drinking water since Hurricane Katrina hit in August, and when called on, well continue to provide water to all victims of Wilma as long as its needed."
"I don't think it makes a difference who gives it out. It's going to a good cause. It's going to help everyone," said storm victim Lisa Simmons.

And many victims are grateful Anheuser-Busch is stepping in to help.
The article goes on to update that two members of the SBC are now distributing the water alongside the Red Cross. What part of Charity do these people fail to understand? There should be a special place in Hell for those people who Meddle... Posted by DaveH at October 30, 2005 10:53 PM

Volunteers working with the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief Unit honored the request of the host pastor to set aside canned water with an Anheuser-Busch logo. At no time was anyone deprived of water. In fact, there was a huge surplus of bottled and canned water available at the Clewiston relief site. There was never any disruption in the supply of water being given out to members of the public who continued to receive food, water and other types of assistance from Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief workers.
It is an absolute falsehood to suggest -- as many irresponsible bloggers have -- that the Baptist volunteers withheld the basic needs of life from Floridians impacted by the hurricane. Contrary to misinterpretations of news reports, no one was denied access to water.
One may disagree with the strong stand that many Southern Baptists take against the consumption of alcohol. One may even regard such opposition to alcohol as offensive.
But it's impossible to say truthfully that this conviction caused any inconvenience or shortage for victims of Hurricane Wilma. The facts are exactly the opposite.
The fact is that virtually all of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers serve selflessly -- taking time away from employment and family to minister in the name of Jesus Christ. Churches such as First Baptist Church, Clewiston, graciously serve as host sites -- providing a place where food, water and other necessities of life may be obtained by anyone in need -- without regard to religion or any other demographic consideration.

-- Keith Hinson, public relations associate
Alabama Baptist Convention State Board of Missions
Montgomery, Alabama

Posted by: Keith Hinson at November 1, 2005 5:37 PM
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