Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
a Special Offering 2024 Mission Moment
For the past couple of years, when you would drive into Mayfield, KY from Paducah, KY and crest the hill to the north of town, the sight would take your breath away – a town flattened. Businesses, churches, homes, all destroyed when, on December 10, 2021, a mile-wide EF4 long-track tornado hit multiple counties in western Kentucky, leaving a massive path of destruction and thousands of Kentuckians homeless. Disciples swiftly responded through Week of Compassion and Kentucky West Area congregations, and the generosity of Disciples lives on as homes are rebuilt and communities are restored.
In the two years since that event, Week of Compassion has partnered with Long-Term Recovery Groups to stabilize communities and support them through their recovery. Volunteer referrals and grant funding are helping move rebuilding forward in multiple counties - all with unique approaches to meeting the needs in their own neighborhoods.
Long-Term Disaster Recovery in the Rio Grande Valley
Long-term recovery is work that reaches community-wide - and beyond!
The Rio Grande Valley Long Term Disaster Recovery (RGV LTDR) seeks to provide recovery assistance to those living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas who have experienced damage from disasters. They work to organize volunteer labor and construction materials to help survivors repair their housing, and assist in arranging repairs by third parties when possible. Currently they are responding to multiple severe storms and tornadoes that hit the region in 2023.
a story of resilience and partnership
In the wake of frequent hurricanes across Florida and the Gulf Coast, Week of Compassion has maintained a long-standing partnership with VIND (Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disaster), working together to meet the long-term recovery needs of Volusia County residents as they rebuild after storms.
A recent project following Hurricane Ian last year, funded with a grant from the Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant through National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), is just one example of survivor resilience and the power of strong partnerships.
site leaders help make recovery possible
“Week of Compassion is here for the long haul.” “There are partners who will be the first in. Disciples will be the last to leave.” “It’s been years since the storm, and your groups are still here, doing the work that needs to be done.” Long-term recovery is easy to overlook – once the cameras are gone, and the urgency of storm relief subsides, it is the long, slow, careful completion of each step that helps families really recover, that moves families into safe and secure houses, where they can make true homes.
Disaster Site Leaders are the foundation of disaster recovery volunteering.
working with partners after Hurricane Ian
One year ago this week, Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage across the state of Florida. While the Gulf Coast dealt primarily with wind impact, counties in central and eastern Florida were pelted with massive rainfall. In Volusia County, some areas saw more than 20” of rain, which caused devastating flooding.
In response, Week of Compassion is working with Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disaster (VIND) and the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries to repair damaged homes.
The collaboration - deepened by a history of cooperative responses to Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in previous years - includes disaster case managers and a volunteer coordinator, volunteer housing, financial support, and referral of volunteer teams contributing thousands of hours of labor across this long-term recovery.
While some homes require roof repairs, the majority of damage is from flooding, so repairs include replacement of drywall, flooring, cabinets, and some electrical. Priority is given to clients who are most vulnerable, including low-income, veterans, and those elderly and/or disabled.
Ready to GET INVOLVED with the long-term recovery in Volusia County? Find Volunteer info on our website: https://www.weekofcompassion.org/group-volunteers/florida
foundation poured in Mayfield KY
Remember the house you built in the Exhibit Hall at General Assembly? The concrete block foundation is in place and ready for the next steps!
We are grateful to Leah Eubanks and the faithful at First Christian Paducah for keeping up with the progress, for sharing photos, and for hosting groups serving in the community to keep moving forward with rebuilt and restored housing, part of the recovery work since the winter 2021 tornadoes.
To volunteer with them, or any of our other disaster response teams, go to weekofcompassion.org/group-volunteers
on-site 'Service Service' highlights long-term recovery
Be part of something BIG at General Assembly!
Week of Compassion and the General Assembly Local Missions Team are working with Help Build Hope to frame a house for survivors of the devastating tornadoes that hit western Kentucky in 2021. Sunday morning (July 30), we will have a brief worship service then will frame a house right in the Exhibit Hall! Come work and pray with other volunteers as we help one family get closer to moving home.
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