Small Church Aids Its Town Recover After Tornado Strikes

Small Church Aids Its Town Recover After Tornado Strikes

By Stephanie Heading, managing editor

LAKEVIEW, Ohio (March 26, 2024)
Indian Lake Baptist Church, a small church in Lakeview, Ohio, had to “go with it” to help its community in the aftermath of the March 14 tornado outbreak that killed three people and left dozens injured.

Lakeview is home to 1213 people in rural Logan County. The town took a direct hit from one of  six tornadoes that destroyed and damaged both homes and businesses leaving the residents without electricity and water services following the late night storm.

The church located on West Lake Street, a main road in Lakeview, was in the path of the tornado. Homes surrounding the church lost roofs and suffered damage and destruction but the church building only had one broken window.

...they were getting more donations than they could manage.

Four days after the storm, the Logan County Emergency Manager called Indian Lake BC’s Pastor, Ben Baum, and asked for a favor. “The County Emergency Manager called and said that they were getting more donations than they could manage,” said Baum. “They wanted to know if we would volunteer our building as a place to distribute and store items out of the weather.”

Indian Lake Baptist Church used their resources to assist their Lakeview, Ohio community. Photo, John Heading

Baum said yes and a quick turnover began at the church. “I was setting up for a church fellowship meal when they called,” he recounted.

Within an hour or two, eight to ten trucks and trailers full of food, clothes, baby items and household goods began arriving.

Volunteers from Indian Lake BC as well as the community arrived to organize and set up a distribution center in the church fellowship hall.

Two trustees from the church were among the distribution volunteers. “When things start showing up, you just have to go with it,” said Pat, one of the trustees.

During distribution, church members and volunteers spoke with storm victims, helping them gather needed items and sharing the gospel with all who would listen.

Lakeview is getting back to its new normal and the need for the distribution center at the church is waning so the full-time distribution will end this week. However, Baum and his church plan to keep the large collection of donated items and use them to continue ministering in their community.

“We still have a lot of stuff,” said Baum. “The emergency crisis might be over, but people still need things. Our church will make sure people have what they need.”

Baum believes the church will see the impact of their community outreach over time.

“After they get to talking to folks, time will tell,” he said. “In any crisis, people look for spiritual guidance. I believe people will remember the church that helped them.”