Following the swath of tornados that struck Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois last week, more tornados and severe storms have struck communities across the Midwest and Southeastern United States, with areas in southern Indiana and northern and eastern Kentucky sustaining incredible damage. Though no Disciples congregations sustained damage and the most severe damage occurred in areas with little, if any Disciples presence, we are still reaching out to impacted communities.
Through our committed partners and in collaboration with our Regional Ministry Offices, Week of Compassion has been putting your resources and prayers to work, providing grants for individuals who have lost their homes from Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky, as well as providing resources for heating oil for families who have lost power in Eastern Kentucky following the tornado.
Our partners at Church World Service are also hard at work. Their Emergency Response Specialists are in contact with response agencies to respond to immediate needs for material goods such as CWS Cleanup Buckets, Blankets and Hygiene Kits, collecting information about needs from state Volunteer Agencies Active in Disaster (VOADs), from interfaith organizations, and from faith leaders in the affected communities. We will also be working with CWS Emergency Response Specialists as they liaise with local, state and federal organizations and agencies to train and prepare the communities for their long-term recovery. Material goods, including cleanup buckets and hygiene kits have already been shipped to Kentucky for response in affected areas.
Disciples Volunteering has begun connecting with local grassroots organizations that are planning clean-up and other hands-on response, and will provide that information as it becomes available. Most work is still not a good match for unskilled volunteers, so we remind you to PRAY, STAY, AND PAY to make the most impact.
We give thanks to God, the One who provides shelter in the midst of tragedy, strength to those who bring skill and support, hope for those most deeply affected, and for your concern and commitment at this time.