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Nixon creates faith-based partnership for disaster relief

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, MO – Governor Jay Nixon has issued an executive order creating a partnership between state government and faith-based groups to aid Missourians hit by natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

The partnership includes two federal agencies, 16 state agencies, and 16 private, religious and charitable groups who would all work together to respond to a major disaster.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste says the services to be provided won't represent any government intrusion into religion or vice-versa.

"They are of the type of providing help to enable people to get back on their feet after a disaster, enable limbs to be cleared, things like that, homes to be made habitable," Holste said.

DeWitt Campbell works with the Salvation Army's Midland Division office in St. Louis. He says the partnership will insure that there is no duplication of services.

"If there wasn't coordination, and a lot of that coming through government entities, the Red Cross would open a shelter and have to feed itself and we would open a shelter and have to provide food, and that stretches our resources," Campbell said.

Governor Nixon unveiled the partnership today at a meeting with faith-based groups in Cape Girardeau. He has a second meeting with more groups Tuesday in St. Charles.