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Lexington-based farmer nonprofit provides disaster relief

disaster volunteers
Fellowship of Christian Farmers International (FCFI) disaster volunteers have been providing relief in eastern Kentucky and Florida this year.

The Fellowship of Christian Farmers, a Lexington-based nonprofit with a mission to provide relief from disasters and spread a message of Christian faith, is searching for volunteers and donations.

The organization does humanitarian work in some of the hardest-hit areas across the country, coordinating efforts by volunteer farmers to repair fences, remove downed trees, and provide general support for people affected by devastation.

The goal is a relatively simple one — “building fences, growing food, and sharing their faith,” said executive director Dennis Schlagel, adding volunteers aren’t all farmers, but many are former or retired farmers, spouses, and children of farmers who volunteer.

The organization responded to Washington, Illinois in 2013 when an F4 tornado tore through much of the city. Volunteers helped residents remove trees, sift through rubble looking for mementos, and provided food and water for first responders.

Recently, they've worked in Florida to help victims of Hurricane Ian and in eastern Kentucky to assist flood victims.

As the cost of travel and equipment continues to rise nationwide, Schlagel said donations are as important as ever for continuing to send out volunteers to disaster-stricken areas.

“We’ve got to do a little fundraising,” said Schlagel, adding the nonprofit comes to exhibitions such as the recent Peoria Farm Show to find antique tractors it can auction off to raise additional money to help cover travel costs.

More information is available at fcfi.org.

Erik Dedo is a reporting and audio production intern at WGLT. He joined the station in 2022.
Tim Alexander is a correspondent for WGLT. He joined the station in 2022.
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