Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
Many have said that Week of Compassion is there after the cameras leave, and that is true. Committed to long-term recovery, Week of Compassion walks alongside communities through every stage of disaster recovery. Weeks, months, even years after a major disaster has faded from the headlines, we are still working with our partners to rebuild communities. But sometimes, through your support and the presence of local congregations, we are there before the cameras arrive-- or even when there are no cameras at all. Here are a few events from last month that you may not have heard about on the news, but where our Disciples presence has been felt and is making a difference.
Los Angeles, CA
All Peoples Community Center has been serving their South Los Angeles neighborhood since 1942. A ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), All Peoples provides social services and programs including: support for children, families, and seniors; prevention of domestic and community violence; and job training and opportunity, just to name a few.
On June 30, an explosion caused by a confiscated load of illegal fireworks shook the neighborhood served by All Peoples Community Center. The blast injured at least 17 people and damaged dozens of nearby homes and businesses.
Several families connected with All Peoples were evacuated and sustained damage to their homes. As a trusted partner with long-standing presence in the community, All Peoples was able to respond quickly as a source of help and an advocate for affected neighbors. With support from Week of Compassion, the center provided grocery gift cards and hot meals to evacuees. All Peoples continues to support their neighbors during recovery, offering a faithful Disciples presence to those in need.
Cameron, West Virginia
Also in late June, the town of Cameron, West Virginia, experienced the worst flash flooding the area has seen in decades. Mudslides caused power outages that lasted several days and affected hundreds of residents. Dozens of homes were damaged in low-lying areas of town. Week of Compassion responded through a local Disciples congregation, providing support for five households in the congregation that experienced damage from the flood.
North Canton, OH
The congregation of Faith United Christian Church in North Canton, OH, serves their neighbors in many ways, including a free clothes closet that they provide as a resource to the community.
But two recent incidents of vandalism led to broken windows and damaged doors, including damage to the area used for the clothes closet.
Week of Compassion provided support to help with repair costs, some of which will not be covered by the church’s insurance. This support will help the church restore their facility with stronger materials that will help protect against future damage. As Rev. Chad Anderson has said, the break-ins have actually inspired the congregation to “break out” into the community to love and serve.
Faith United is also one of many Disciples congregations that received a COVID-19 Relief Ministry grant. With support from Week of Compassion, this church is working to feed their neighbors who are in need--many of whom live in public housing across the street from the church.
Two wildfires prompted extended evacuations in and around Globe, AZ. The fires burned over 180,000 acres over a three week period. Several Disciples households were evacuated, and First Christian Church of Globe worked with local partners to assist evacuees in the community.
Week of Compassion shared support for the wildfire evacuation shelter through the church, as well as direct support for several families affected by the fire. One of those who received support shared this word of thanks:
I’m sending my most grateful “Thank You" for the generous check I received. It was truly unexpected but appreciated more than you know. I will use it to replace my perishable food—everything I had in my freezer/fridge that I had to leave behind due to my recent fire evacuation. God bless you and the remarkable service you provide, for me and others in need.