Disaster relief volunteer Karen Smith of Shepherdsville, Ky., has bonded with the people of LeSotho, Africa, where a drought has created severe food shortages.
Kentucky Baptist Convention photo

Residents of drought-stricken Lesotho, Africa, became like family to 64-year-old Karen Smith of Shepherdsville, Ky., the first time she took them food.

“You go with expectations of doing a job and it quickly becomes more than a job. It becomes personal,” Smith, volunteer feeding coordinator for the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC), told Baptist Press.

“That first little boy that came and sat in my lap, it stopped being a job. It began to be personal, because then I met moms and dads and just got to know the families.”

Smith served on two of the six disaster relief teams the KBC has sent to southern Africa since 2016 in response to a drought affecting large swaths of sub-Saharan Africa. The U.N. has described the drought and famine, which extends into South Sudan and the greater Horn of Africa, as the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

KBC Disaster Relief works in sub-Saharan Africa in coordination with Baptist Global Response partners and with International Mission Board workers there, KBC Disaster Relief director Coy Webb said, distributing a million meals to thousands of families in 2016 through 20-day food rations.

“It was almost a complete crop lost last year. Many of the people in the mountains … basically had no food,” Webb said. “The situation could have been life-threatening for many. … There is no other place to turn when the crops fail. They have no food.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Diana Chandler