A message from your Conference Disaster Ministries Coordinators:
National news has carried extensive coverage of storm recovery efforts for Kentucky. The storm system spread across eight states Dec. 10-11 and took the lives of at least 88 people, left scores of people missing, and caused damage and economic losses projected at $18 billion. The outbreak is already considered the costliest tornado event in U.S. history, reported AccuWeather. Kentucky Emergency Management says this is the largest FEMA response in Kentucky’s history.
The same storm system also resulted in a tornado which caused significant damage in Rudd, Iowa. Osage Congregational Church Pastor Dixie Laube has requested an emergency grant from the Iowa Conference to purchase gift cards for residents in Rudd to replace food and other home items, and to purchase drinking water for the short term. Pastor Laube will also be delivering a supply of Cleanup Buckets to Rudd.
Many congregations and individuals are moved to help. Here are some suggestions:
- Please, unless you have a specific connection with a specific individual making a specific request for items and a specific location to deliver those items, please DO NOT send things to the impacted areas. Warehouse and donation managers on site are reporting that they are being “buried” under unsolicited donations. One warehouse manager reported arriving at his facility at 6am to find 15 semi trailers waiting to be unloaded. All the currently leased space is full to overflowing. Even though these donations represent the best of intentions to help, unsolicited items create a second wave of disaster. Space must be located and leased to store the items, volunteers must be taken away from other duties to unload and sort items, and more volunteers tasked with distributing the donations. Instead,
- Send Money. Much less personal, but money can be used to purchase what is most needed, from local vendors, helping to restart the business economies in the affected areas. Donations may be routed through the United Church of Christ: mail a check made payable to the United Church of Christ PO BOX 71957 Cleveland, OH 44194. Please be sure to note “2021 Severe Storms” on your check in the memo section, or in an attached letter. Online donation is also available.
- Assemble CWS Cleanup Buckets and Hygiene kits. CWS (Church World Service) keeps warehouses full so that kits may be dispatched on short notice. UCC Disaster Ministries offers $250 matching grants to churches assembling kits. Kits may be shipped to CWS or you may contact Coral Parmenter, Nebraska conference Disaster Coordinator, or Brice Hughes, Iowa Conference Disaster Coordinator.
- Rebuilding projects will begin in early spring. Watch for news as those plans develop.