Last week, in response to the devastating floods in Colorado, Week of Compassion provided this list as a helpful guideline for congregations and communities affected by disasters. These suggestions draw upon the experience and knowledge of Disciples Volunteering and Week of Compassion, as well as the great resources we have in our partners from Church World Service, colleagues from FEMA, and the amazing volunteers who make up community-based Long Term Recovery Committees.
Even if your community has not experienced a disaster, these suggestions are great to keep on hand in the event of a disaster affecting your community.
DO: Check on your members, neighbors, and especially those who are elderly, disabled, or vulnerable in other ways.
DON'T: Self-deploy as a volunteer, especially during the search and rescue phase. You will only get in the way or put yourself in danger.
DO: If there are needs in your congregation, please contact your Regional Office, so they can coordinate ways to provide support through Week of Compassion.
DO: Check with your local VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) about needs of survivors before collecting any material donations.
DON'T: Collect material donations without arranging an appropriate destination (local social service agency, etc).
DO: Know that money is the most flexible donation you can make. Week of Compassion is an efficient way to turn your generosity into assistance.
DO: If eligible, encourage all affected folks in your congregation and community to apply to FEMA for Federal Disaster Assistance. Please be aware that this is a long process, and be sure to read all documents carefully. An initial rejection does not mean one cannot appeal; an applicant may also be eligible for low-interest loans to replace damaged property.
DON'T: Get discouraged by how long the process takes.
DO: Become familiar with FEMA's sequence of delivery.
DON'T: Be careful not to organize material good distributions that might compromise an affected person's eligibility for aid. (Let the sequence of delivery be your guide.)
DO: Encourage leaders in your congregations to become involved in the formation of a long- term recovery committee and to put their skills to work.
DO: Stay Hopeful. Recovery takes a long time, even among well-supported, well-organized communities.
If you would like to support communities affected by disaster, put your Compassion into Action by partnering with Week of Compassion. Thanks for all of the ways you support needs here and around the world!
This week’s responses:
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Colorado, Flood Damage
Laos, Landslide and Flash Flooding