In March of 2016, flooding swept across much of Louisiana. In Ouachita Parish (in upstate Louisiana, between Shreveport and Vicksburg, Mississippi), the heavy rainfall created a strong flow of water--strong enough to displace the foundation piers of homes. One such house belonged to man whom we will call Mr. Jones (he asked that his real name be kept private). The foundation movement at Mr. Jones's home caused the roof to leak, the outside walls to shift, and the floors to buckle and bulge. Gaps along the walls, floors, and roof allowed rainfall into the home, causing further damage and extensive mold growth.
Mr. Jones is a 63-year old disabled father of 8, who lives with chronic illness. After the flood, this large family moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, where they are still living. Though on a fixed income, Mr. Jones continues to pay bills on both residences.
He was able to make some minor repairs himself, but the family could not afford to make the repairs to the roof or to the floor joists, sills, floors, and ceilings. FEMA funding helped them purchase an air conditioner (an attempt to dry the home and reduce mold growth) and replace the children's damaged clothing, but it was insufficient to repair the home. State recovery programs have been slow to help, and John has been waiting for over a year to find out how much state funding will be available to assist with the repairs. Without addressing the major problems, the conditions of their home continued to deteriorate.
Things got more difficult in Ouachita Parish when, later in 2016, the southern half of Louisiana again flooded, including historic flooding in Baton Rouge. Much of the attention, money, and volunteers shifted away from Ouachita and other rural Parishes upstate, and away from families like the Joneses.
But Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief USA stayed, providing case management services and coordinating repairs in the parish. Through the partnership network of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), ICNA reached out to Week of Compassion. Our shared values of community-led recovery, prioritization of the most vulnerable, and accompaniment through long-term recovery made ICNA Relief USA an ideal partner. Week of Compassion provided funds for building materials, which ICNA Relief USA leveraged for donated supplies and labor, thereby doubling the return on investment.
At the Jones's home, Week of Compassion and ICNA Relief USA have removed the collapsing chimney, repaired the roof, replaced the floor joists and floorboards, repaired a wastewater line, and laid new subfloor and flooring. The work continues to make the home safe, sanitary and secure. The work continues through partnership with ICNA Relief USA and through your generous gifts to Week of Compassion.
You can help create a long-term future for those suffering from disasters, poverty, hunger and displacement from home! The Week of Compassion Endowment Program was established in 1997 within the Christian Church Foundation to ensure that the witness and mission of Week of Compassion continues for generations to come. Annual distributions from the endowment now provide ongoing assistance long after disasters and crises are forgotten.
Many Disciples have included the Week of Compassion Endowment Program in the careful stewardship of their resources. You can make an outright gift or a planned gift to:
- The Week of Compassion General Endowment - Any amount.
- A Named Endowment Fund - A commitment to grow your fund to at least $1,000 over time. The fund can be in your name or named in memory or honor of a loved one.
- A Circle of Compassion Fund - Congregations join the Week of Compassion Endowment Fund through the Circle of Compassion, with a commitment to grow the fund to at least $10,000 over time.
For more information about how you can offer an ongoing presence providing relief for the suffering, recovery to families after disasters, and respite for refugees - today, tomorrow, and for generations to come - contact Week of Compassion's Minister for Development, Rev. Joe Hendrixson, (785) 640-0557 firstname.lastname@example.org.