The news about the floods in West Virginia has been replaced in mainline media; but the pain, grief and loss is still there for thousands of families. Your Disaster Ministries Team has responded with the delivery of almost 2,000 disaster kits. Even with those contributions, there is much work to be done. More than 2,000 homes are gone, and all of them are within the Ohio Conference.
When learning of the devastation to our neighbors, you may ask, “what can we do?” Given the present conditions in West Virginia, this is what we can do:
• Pray for the survivors and their families.
• Make clean-up and personal care kits. Because our kit inventory is now zero, we need to replenish our supply to be ready for future need. Consider making a collection of kit supplies part of your next Association, congregation or group meeting. This has worked well in the past, resulting in as many as 500 kits in one day. The Disaster Ministries Team stands ready to help with promotion of the appeal and receipt of kits on the day of the meeting.
• Organize work teams for Fall and beyond. Early disaster responders in West Virginia are trying to catch their breath as initial cleanup is getting closer to completion. Planning is underway to organize formal organizations in each of the 12 declared counties to manage their repair and rebuild efforts, mostly with volunteers. NOW is a good time to organize work teams for deployment later this fall.
• Funding makes things happen. The maximum grant from FEMA for someone who lost everything is only $33,000. You can give through the UCC national office or through the Ohio Conference disaster relief fund. When giving through our national office, direct gifts to EMERGENCY USA. You may give through the Ohio Conference online or with a check, payable to the Ohio Conference, sent to 6161 Busch Blvd., Suite 100, Columbus OH 43229. Either way, gifts can be designated for disaster relief in West Virginia.
I am a member of the organization leading the response of the larger faith community, West Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). You may find more details about this exceptional organization at www.wvvoad.org. Their Facebook page is a major distributor of flood related information.
Thank you for your faithful response to our neighbors in West Virginia.
Conference Disaster Ministries Coordinator