Interested in disaster response? Contact us to learn more!
United Church of Christ Organizes Response to Tornadoes in Oklahoma
The United Church of Christ has issued an appeal for funds for assistance to the communities impacted by the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. Below is the web link with current information. Please check here and on the One Great Hour of Sharing Facebook page (same information will be on both) for new information as it becomes available. Thank you for your commitment to disaster ministries.
Situation Report from Oklahoma
The message below was sent out yesterday by the Chairperson of Oklahoma's VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) organization to others in the national VOAD network:
Oklahoma VOAD---DISASTER RESPONSE --- Situation Update #01 – May 20, 2013
Dear Oklahoma VOAD Partners,
We have had a very difficult couple of days with some very devastating tornados hitting several communities in Oklahoma. As I write this we are still experiencing tornados on the ground in Oklahoma. We know you all are seeing and hearing about the devastation and want to assist as soon as possible, but right now we want to ask you to do the following things to make our collaborative effort as effective as possible for our neighbors in need:
1. Please join us in allowing the first responders to do the work they need to do. It will take time to assess the complete amount of damage our fellow Oklahomans have suffered and comprise a list of how our VOAD organizations can help to meet their needs.
2. In the meantime, begin to take inventory of all available goods, services, and resources of your organization. Also, please take inventory of your organizations personnel and volunteers with their skill sets and availability.
3. At this time, PLEASE ask your organizations to make financial donations only until when and if other types of donations are requested. We all KNOW not heeding this request can lead to the second disaster after the disaster.
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED ON VOLUNTEERS
Many unsolicited volunteers are showing up at the Incident Command Center in Moore!! PLEASE instruct all volunteers associated with your organization or other individual volunteers or groups you may come in contact with to NOT self-deploy. Best practices include a collaborative response, so people are directed WHEN NEEDED and WHERE NEEDED so their help and skills are most needed and will be most effective.
Church World Service Appeals Urgently for Emergency Cleanup Buckets
As the 2,500th CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket arrives today (May 7) in flood-ravaged Illinois, Church World Service is appealing urgently for people to replenish its rapidly dwindling supply.
Heavy precipitation from early 2013 storms and floods has resulted in widespread and severe flooding in Illinois and other states.
“The CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are giving hope and help to survivors,” said Barry Shade, CWS associate director for U.S. disaster response. “With needs assessment ongoing, CWS expects to respond to additional requests from Illinois and other states for buckets. When we do, we hope to be able to respond without delay.”
Only about 2,600 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets remain in the agency’s warehouse in New Windsor, Md., Shade said.
A shipment of 1,008 Church World Service Emergency Cleanup Buckets is scheduled to reach Peoria, Ill., on Tuesday (May 7) for distribution to area households as flood waters recede from their properties.
The DuPage County, Ill., Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management received and quickly distributed 500 at the end of April, and the Red Cross in Rolling Meadows, Ill., received 992 buckets for distribution Saturday (May 4).
Church World Service, a global humanitarian agency and sponsor of CROP Hunger Walks, emphasizes the importance of faith community involvement in long-term recovery from disaster. The agency enlists congregations in supplying tens of thousands of CWS Blankets, CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other CWS Kits for shipment to disaster survivors every year.
In addition, it helps flood survivors access the material, emotional, spiritual and human resources they need to get back on their feet and go on with their lives by helping communities to start their own long-term recovery groups.
CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket contents and instructions:
Nationwide Update on Disaster Recovery Status
Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio Disaster Response Services has just published a summary of the status of disaster recovery sites from Alabama to West Virginia. If you are looking for an update of national disasters and opportunities to serve, the information you need is here! Recovery Operations Report
Hurricane Sandy recovery sites in NY and NJ are ready for volunteers
And there's a long way to go.
We are pleased to announce the opening of two opportunities for your group to participate in disaster recovery related to Hurricane Sandy.
Registration forms and information:
• Opportunities now are available in Atlantic City, NJ in partnership with the Fuller Center for Housing. This community is ready to embark on the repair/rebuild stage of disaster recovery. The minimum age is 16 years (with some limited projects for volunteers age 14. Registration Information
• Opportunities for service (and group housing) now also are available in New York City in partnership with New York Cares, with housing at a local UCC church.
This opportunity engages volunteers in the continuing muck out/mold remediation stage of disaster recovery. Volunteers at this location will not be doing repair/rebuild.
Also note: although disaster-related projects are assigned with priority, groups serving here also may engage in non-disaster-related volunteer projects with New York Cares. Those particular project assignments are made one month prior to the date of service. The minimum age for this location is 18 years. Registration
The length of time between Hurricane Sandy's destruction in late October 2012 and today, when impacted communities still are hovering between the continuing clean-up stage of recovery and the housing repair/rebuild stage illustrates the need for the commitment to long-term disaster recovery. The recovery process takes a long time. The sustenance of faith feeds a commitment to accompany people through the long-term process of disaster recovery. Thank you for that commitment of faith.
We will continue to post opportunities for service here as they become available.
Middleburg Missionaries help rebuild tornado devastation in Indiana
By Sandy Swafford-Uhl, Middleburg Heights Community Church
It’s funny how, once the disaster dujour leaves the headlines, we forget about the aftermath. The pictures of destruction from storm, flood or fire fade from our memories because we were not directly affected, and we go on about our daily lives.
Not so for those affected by the disaster. They must find alternate shelter, re-establish relationships, rebuild homes and businesses—sometimes with the help of insurance policies they may have had, sometimes with the help of charitable organizations that respond to the emergency.
For those of us fortunate enough never to have personally experienced the loss of our home and all our belongings, it is difficult to imagine the personal and community emotional trauma that follows an EF4 tornado. Last March, just such a tornado caused unimaginable destruction for 49 miles on the ground in southern Indiana near the small town of Henryville. This tornado was followed in quick succession by another, this time an EF3, which was followed by baseball-size hail and rain.
What the tornados didn’t destroy, the hail surely did, smashing in car windshields, damaging roofs and siding. Mobile homes were twisted, removed from their foundations and severely damaged. Homes were destroyed. Personal belongings were blown away. A state forest was laid waste – entire hillsides as far as you can see are full of downed trees. The home church of Colonel Sanders was leveled, but the parishioners who took shelter in the basement of the church were spared. There are many amazing stories of survival and destruction.
Something good did come out of this storm. Volunteers from around the country and from several foreign countries have worked together with community members to rebuild. Support groups have been formed to help those affected by the storm with their spiritual and emotional needs.
A Long Term Recovery Committee named “March 2 Recovery” (the storm occurred on March 2, 2012) was formed. This committee is a coalition of volunteers and staff working in three local counties to alleviate the disaster due to the March 2 tornados. It is a member of SINCOAD (Southern Indiana Community Organizations Active in Disaster) and includes community, government, faith-based, business and non-profit organizations. It is funded by the Eli Lily Foundation, United Way of Indiana and the Indiana Natural Disaster Fund.
March 2 Recovery has assisted 1,176 clients. They have deployed 11,441 volunteers through their office alone, and the value of their in-kind labor is over $2,207,675. The application process that a potential client goes through involves the certification of need, the investigation of potential insurance coverage, and prioritizing needs.
Decisions on how homes will be rebuilt are complicated. The committee must take into consideration the family’s ability to maintain and pay taxes on the rebuilt structure, whether or not there are children, disabled persons, or persons with medical needs.
Not all homes are rebuilt alike. Some mobile homes are not worth saving. However, if new construction is begun, the septic system must be replaced. In many cases this is not possible, so the trailers are rebuilt much better than they were before the storm. In some cases, if the trailer were to be replaced by a modest new home, the homeowner would not be able to afford the increase in property taxes, so $40,000 may be spent to rebuild a mobile home that is worth about $100.
Our group of Middleburg Missionaries (Kyle Johnson, Jeff Lingenfelter, Scot, George and Sandy Uhl, Vicki and Mike McGaw), from Middleburg Heights Community Church near Cleveland, Ohio, arrived on Thursday, December 27, a day late due to a snow storm. We worked a full day on Friday and Saturday, a half day on Sunday (we attended church in the morning) and a half day on Monday before we left for home on Monday afternoon.
Our group, along with another group of 7 adults from a church near Chicago, worked on one new home, adding a wraparound porch. We also insulated the entire inside of the home and hung almost all of the drywall for this modest 3 bedroom ranch before we had to leave.
Once the porch was finished, there were 14 of us working inside the house – it was amazing that everyone had a job and managed to work together with good results. Both groups stayed at a huge church called Safe Harbor Christian Church where we cooked our meals. We drove to the volunteer fire station to shower. These arrangements worked out very satisfactorily.
We learned that the home we worked on was replacing a trailer that was severely damaged. During the storm, the home owner took shelter with a relative down the street and lost two toes from an injury suffered while being sheltered in the relative’s basement.
We did not have the opportunity to meet the homeowner so we talked with a case manager about how to make a financial donation for the family. She suggested that we purchase Walmart gift cards and that a staff member would accompany the client(s) on a shopping trip. Walmart waives the sales tax and also contributes an additional $50 in these cases. They will send receipts of purchase and pictures. We will be mailing the gift cards to the case manager very soon (we chose to spend our time working instead of going to Walmart there). Thanks to all who contributed.
Interested in disaster response? Contact us to learn more!
Responding to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut
As we continue to offer prayers for families and friends of victims, and survivors, we share some links to resources that might be helpful.
Newtown, Connecticut UCC web article and prayers:
Talking to your children about recent school shootings web link:
Rev. Matt Crebbin, Newtown Congregational Church, UCC; Today Show interview, December 17: http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/50224492#50224492
An update on CTVOAD’s (Connecticut Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) response in Newtown
Questions? Contact: Chris Baker, CTVOAD President
Senior Director, Emergency Services
American Red Cross
209 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06032
Cleaning Kits Delivered to Hurricane Sandy Victims
Jim Ditzler reports that yesterday morning Team member Terry Tangeman delivered about 500 cleaning kits to a church in the Coney Island district of Brooklyn, New York. The delivery went well, there was help to unload, and folks were gracious in their abundant thank-yous. The people doing distribution at the church removed the contents of the box and returned each box to Terry. People were already lined up to receive the cleaning supplies. Photos will be posted as soon as we receive them. More about cleaning kits
Work teams needed through end of 2013
Decisions have recently been made by our local partners in Binghamton, NY; Joplin, Missouri and Minot, North Dakota to continue work on repairing homes through December 2013. In all three places work will continue through the Winter months (weather permitting).
There is a lot of work still to be done, and Minot and Binghamton are particularly in need of volunteers. Details for groups are included via the links below. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Minot, North Dakota:
Binghamton, New York
Rolls of Donated Roof Covering Delivered to Fayette County, West Virginia
On August 20, Jim Ditzler, coordinator of the Ohio Conference Disaster Response Team, delivered 10 large rolls of heavy-duty, weather-resistant fabric to the Fayette County, West Virginia Emergency Management Association warehouse. The 4,000 pounds of fabric was donated by the Seaman Corporation, with headquarters in Wooster, Ohio. It will be used to temporarily cover roofs damaged by falling trees during the June 29 storm that swept through the heavily wooded south-central West Virginia county. The same material has been donated by Seaman after disasters such as Hurricane Katrina to provide temporary shelters and protect damaged buildings from weather.
Homeowners in many areas of West Virginia often must wait many weeks or months for a team of workers, either paid or volunteer, who can fix a damaged roof. Large numbers of homes were damaged by the recent storm, and many homeowners do not have insurance and cannot afford the repair themselves. The donated material —100 times tougher than the blue plastic tarps typically used to cover damaged roofs — will provide sturdy, durable protection from the weather until permanent repairs can be made.
Join Experienced Work Team Leaders for a Trip to Back Bay Mission
Team members Terry and Jeanette Tangeman are leading two trips to Back Bay Mission, Biloxi, Mississippi: September 9-14, 2012 and February 25-March 2, 2013. The group will do construction/rehab work for homeowners dealing with poverty and/or health issues. Back Bay Mission is a community ministry of the United Church of Christ that has served the poor and marginalized on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for 90 years.
Volunteers can also work at Back Bay’s Micah Center, a day center where homeless people can get showers, do their laundry, work on computers, get clothing and food, get help with food stamps, veteran's benefits, or job applications.
Hurricane Katrina took its toll at the mission and in the neighborhoods on the Gulf.
Jeanette and Terry have made 16 trips with work groups to the Gulf Coast since Katrina, and have spent 5 weeks and then 2 months as long term volunteers at Back Bay. Working with so many different volunteer groups from all over the U.S., they know that you will never be quite the same following a week with Back Bay Mission.
For questions, or more information, or to sign up now, please contact the Tangemans at 419-234-7935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Penny
If you're looking for a way to involve the youngest members of your congregation in mission and ministry, read this story about Penny Angels from Zion UCC in Bettsville, Ohio. Over the past 7 years, five Zion UCC students have collected funds — one coin at a time — for a number of ministries and projects. The results of their latest collection: 30 disaster response clean-up kits.
Long-term disaster recovery update from UCC Volunteer Ministries and UCC National Disaster Ministries
2011 and 2012 brought many challenges to communities in the form of tornadoes, severe storms and flooding. Thousands of volunteers have formed work groups across multiple denominations to assist these communities in recovery to rebuild/repair homes. Your continuing commitment to serving communities in need is inspiring and greatly appreciated.
Locations ready to help you serve in disaster recovery are listed below.
Find out more, ask questions, join us!
. . . that the Ohio Conference is one of just three organizations in the United States that assembles and distributes disaster response clean up and personal care kits.
Kit ingredient lists (PDF) - One page, easy to print
. . . that the Ohio Conference Disaster Response Ministry served as the model for the other UCC disaster response ministries?