Week of Compassion Responds to Natural Disasters and Supports the Needs of Children

Week of Compassion continues to respond to emergency needs across the Midwest and South in the aftermath of the recent tornadoes and flooding from a huge severe weather system that swept across the region.  In addition to congregations in Baxter Springs, Kansas; Tupelo, Mississippi; Foley, Alabama and Washington, North Carolina, WoC has also provided a grant of $10,000 to an initial spring storm appeal issued last week by Church World Service.  Early this week, WoC sent an emergency grant to Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth (SCSCY), a Disciples related agency working with at risk children and youth in Mississippi.  The facilities and furnishings of SCSCY's adoption and foster care program in Tupelo were completely destroyed by the tornado. 

In response to monsoon triggered floods and landslides that have affected ten Afghanistan provinces, killed thousands and left tens of thousands homeless, Church World Service has issued an initial appeal to its member communions for $494,000 to provide immediate emergency relief.  CWS Pakistan\Afghanistan is responding to the needs of some of the most vulnerable survivors, especially orphans, persons with disabilities, widows and female-headed households by providing food packages, tents, bedding, other non-food items and two mobile health units.   WoC has provided an immediate grant of $10,000 and the WoC Committee will be considering an additional grant of $20,000. 

Week of Compassion staff and Committee gives thanks for the great generosity of Disciples across the whole church that enables us to put our compassion into action around the world, around the year.

Launching a New Partnership with Children's Disaster Services

Week of Compassion is pleased to announce a new partnership with Disciples Home Mission (DHM), the National Benevolent Association (NBA) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and with the Church of the Brethren Children's Disaster Services (CDS). This initiative will create a new position and network to meet the needs of children affected by disaster in the U.S.

A new memorandum of understanding outlines this partnership providing the framework for a three-year focus on expanding Children's Disaster Services in the Gulf Coast region. This new position will support the development and training of a larger network of volunteers in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana. By engaging the strength and networks of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations and their significant children's ministries we envision great potential to better meet the needs of children in this disaster prone area.

"For years Disciples members have been volunteering with CDS, providing care to the smallest of disaster survivors. Together we can expand this ministry in critical disaster prone areas to better meet the needs of children and families impacted by disasters," comments Roy Winter, Associate Executive Director of the Church of the Brethren. Winters adds, "At this critical time in the history of CDS, this partnership helps grow the program beyond the capacity of one denomination. Together we are growing the ministry in critical disaster prone areas to better meet the needs of children and families impacted by disasters."

This new partnership includes the training of interested church members and others in the area as caregiving volunteers and for leadership roles supporting volunteer coordination and volunteer training. A primary goal of this initiative is to train 250 potential volunteers in the next three years. After completing a certification process - including a criminal record check - these volunteers will provide direct care to children in shelters and service centers after a disaster. The volunteers will be organized into rapid response teams to be the first caregivers responding after a disaster in their area. These volunteers will also be called to serve larger disasters outside of the region.

Rev. Brandon Gilvin, Associate Director of Week of Compassion says, "As part of our ministry as the Disaster, Development, and Refugee Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Week of Compassion looks for partners in our denominational and ecumenical families to respond to critical needs in the wake of disasters. The partnership between Disciples Volunteering, DHM's Children and Family Ministries, the National Benevolent Association (NBA), and Children's Disaster Services will provide a new avenue for volunteers to show the love of Christ to children impacted by tornados, floods, and other devastating events."

The regional Gulf Coast coordinator role is key for the success of this initiative. This part-time paid position will network with potential partners, engage congregations, and help facilitate new volunteer workshops. It is vital that they live in a Gulf Coast state. For more information please contact Kathy Fry-Miller at 410-635-8734 or kfry-miller@brethren.org

This Week’s Responses:

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Mississippi, Tornado Relief (3)
Oklahoma, Fire Relief
New York, Flood Assistance (15)
New York, Family Disaster Response
Alabama, Flood Assistance
Democratic Republic of Congo, Conflict and Displacement Assistance
Tennessee, Fire Relief
Democratic Republic of Congo, Tornado Relief

Development and Long-Term Recovery and Rehabilitation
Zimbabwe, Food Security
Zimbabwe, Water Access