SBTC Disaster Relief gives a huge thank you to Arkansas Baptists for hay donations

Following the largest wildfire in Texas history, Arkansans are helping collect and transport rounds of hay to aid impacted ranchers and farmers.  

“Our goal has been to bless the ranching families of the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma that suffered devastating losses in the recent Smokehouse Creek and Double Deuce fires,” Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) Disaster Relief Director Scottie Stice said. He said it has been a cooperative effort with state disaster relief teams from Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, New Mexico and SBTC. They have also had the help of Send Relief and the Salvation Army.   

“None of us could have accomplished this by ourselves,” he said.  

Some hay has been purchased, but the majority has been donated with most of it coming out of Northwest Arkansas.    

 “With the load that is currently enroute to Pampa, we have delivered 1,370 bales to the Texas Panhandle,” Stice said Wednesday. “Hay has been dropped in Canadian and Pampa.  We have two loads heading to Borger next week. Ranchers in the Panhandle are most appreciative of the donated hay and transportation.” 

Steve Bartholomew, a rancher in Northwest Arkansas, recently collected more than 2,000 bales of hay to be delivered to the ranchers affected by the fires in Texas and Oklahoma.  

“It’s all I’ve done. Sixty-four years old and all I’ve done my whole life is ranching. It hit home with me because I know what it would be like if it was here,” Bartholomew said.  

Along with his passion for ranching, a few words from Bartholomew’s 7-year-old grandson provided extra motive to act and help those affected by the wildfires.  

“[My grandson] said, ‘I’ve got $29, and I want to buy them ranchers some hay,’” he said. Bartholomew rustled up a team of guys he knew, and they got to work. He said they had two loads of hay heading west on Monday, April 1.  

On April 7, at the Fairgrounds in Fayetteville, starting around 1 p.m., Bartholomew said they are hosting an event with food, games, and animals. During the event, they will be accepting donations for ranchers and farmers affected by the wildfires.  

There were potentially 65,000 head of cattle impacted by the wildfires.  

“Last count I saw was that 7,000 did not survive the fire,” Stice said. “Some cattle have been moved to grazing in Kansas and Nebraska.  While we do not have a count, estimates are that thousands are still in pastures in the Panhandle needing hay.”  

Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief (ABDR) recently had multiple teams deployed in Texas. While there, they focused on ash out, sifting through ash to help families and individuals locate valuable items that survived the fires.  ABDR is continuing to aid through its hay operation to help provide impacted ranchers with hay and fencing supplies. Anyone who would like to donate hay, fencing supplies or transportation of the items to Texas can contact Deb Norris at 501-413-8971.  In 2017, when wildfires ravaged Oklahoma, Arkansans donated 2,700 round bales.    

“We’re going to continue on until they tell us they don’t need any more,” Garrett said. He added there is a major need for fence supplies, like barbed wire and fence posts. Additionally, Garrett noted Les Brown of First Baptist Church in Brinkley has been instrumental in helping get supplies to the ranchers. He said Brown has made two trips so far to transport hay and supplies. 

“SBTC Disaster Relief owes a huge thank you to the Arkansas Disaster Relief Team, Arkansas Baptist Convention, Arkansas churches, Arkansas farmers, and Arkansas trucking companies.  Thank you to the people of Arkansas and Arkansas Baptists,” Stice said.  

Please continue to pray for those impacted as they navigate the days ahead and all Disaster Relief volunteers. For more information about ABDR, click here.       

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