After tornados cut a deadly swath across the South on Wednesday, Week of Compassion immediately began responding to initial needs emerging out of Disciples churches across Alabama and Georgia. While we've not heard of any damage to church buildings, nor of any deaths among church members, several families have reported homes that have been damaged or destroyed. Phone systems in Alabama have been down most of the day, but information is continuing to come in, bit by bit.
The same weather system has caused damage to two churches in Kentucky and to the homes of several church members in Tennessee.
We have responded to these needs and stand ready to offer more help as they continue to emerge. Thanks to your generosity, Week of Compassion is able to respond. If you would like to contribute to help meet the needs of families who have experienced damage from tornados across the South, please follow this link.
We are also continuing to monitor the potential for flooding across the Midwest and mid-South. Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and communities across Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and West Tennessee are all preparing for the worst. We are prepared to respond—as always.
Volunteering: Ready, Set, Wait!
Disciples are a caring bunch. We’ve been inundated by phone calls and emails from folks across the country, generously offering their time, skills and energy to help respond to the tornado damage in Alabama. At this time, there is no Disciples-related mechanism for offering immediate response. In time, there may be an opportunity to volunteer. For now, however, there are more effective ways to put your concern into action. According to Director of Disciples Volunteering Josh Baird, "The urge to show up and offer assistance is wonderful. But unless you're completely self-sufficient - which means traveling with all the food, water, ice, gasoline, and cash you're going to need - and you already have a place to sleep and shower, you can wind up doing more harm than good. Consider the local church that is scrambling to find temporary housing for families and individuals who lost their homes in the disaster. Then the call comes in: 'We're coming to help. We just need a place for the five of us to stay.' The burden on that church is not lifted, it's increased. Following any disaster, it is critical that we wait until the local community is ready to receive our assistance before we show up."
Donations to Week of Compassion designated for tornado response will not only provide relief to folks who have sustained serious damage in the wake of this tornado, but also will supply the needed resources should Disciples Volunteering be able to mount a volunteer effort in the region. Along with your prayers, a gift to help with the response is the very best way you can respond right now.
Week of Compassion’s partner, Church World Service, will also be providing clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, and blankets as needed. This will likely deplete their supply. To learn more about donating buckets, blankets, or kits, explore this Church World Service webpage.
We continue to give thanks to all of you who have given generously of your resources, all of you who have expressed concern through phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages, and all of you who continue to find creative ways to reach out in Courageous Compassion. Carry on!
This Week's Responses
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
North Carolina, tornado damage
Alabama, tornado damage
Tennessee, storm damage
Kentucky, storm and flood damage
Arizona, resettled refugee assistance
Texas, resettled refugee assistance
Long-Term Recovery and Rehabilitation
Global, poverty relief for older persons
For a complete listing of responses made in 2011, click here.