On October 7, Hurricane Nate made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While it wasn’t a severe hurricane, Back Bay Mission took the same precautions we take every time a hurricane is approaching our community. Since this wasn’t our first hurricane — and it certainly won’t be our last — we thought we’d share those precautions with you.

There are some things that we do all the time to make sure we’re ready when a hurricane is on its way:

  • We make sure that information our computers is backed up (or always living in the cloud)
  • We make sure that members of our staff and board have each other’s contact information
  • We keep records of our inventory and property
  • We make sure that we have the tools and equipment we’ll need, and that it’s in good shape and working condition
  • We make sure that the people we serve have hurricane evacuation information

There are some things we do when a hurricane is on its way:

  • We keep any volunteers who are staying — or who are on their way — with us informed and safe
  • We keep our constituents in the United Church of Christ and around the country informed via our website, social media channels, email, and other methods of communication
  • We prepare the buildings by fastening hurricane shutters, installing plywood over windows, placing sandbags, and so on
  • We protect Mission property by moving vehicles to higher ground (and making sure they have gas), bagging computers, depositing any money we have, securing and storing items, and so on
  • We communicate with our clients in Home At Last, HomePort, and the Micah Day Center about the hurricane and implement their safety plans
  • We contact other service providers and the Red Cross to make sure that plans are in place and to communicate important information to the people we serve
  • If it’s a category 3 hurricane or higher, we stockpile water and other necessities
  • If we’re evacuating, staff members make sure their supervisor knows their plans

And, of course, there are some things we do once the hurricane has passed:

  • We make sure everyone is informed about our status (usually by email, the website, and social media)
  • We undo all of the preparations we did with our buildings and property
  • We get back to work, checking in with the people we serve and making sure everyone is okay

While we can never predict what will happen in a hurricane, and while it obviously takes a lot more work to recover from a major hurricane than a ‘minor’ one, we take every precaution possible to ensure that Back Bay Mission can continue to serve the poor and marginalized even in the aftermath of a severe hurricane.

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