Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
responding in the midwest and Kentucky
Last week, St Louis recorded the greatest single-day rainfall in its history, at times exceeding two inches per hour - and just two days later, the area endured several more inches of rain. Dozens of stranded motorists, damaged homes, and water evacuations fill the news; two deaths have been reported.
At the same time, in eastern Kentucky, 8 to 11 inches of rain fell in just 48 hours, devastating communities that are still recovering from last year’s record flooding. There have been 35 confirmed deaths, including young children. Most of the damage is in Hazard, Whitesburg, and Jackson.
These communities were also the first to respond in December 2021 when tornadoes devastated western Kentucky towns. And so once again, Disciples are asking ‘How can we help?'
Disaster response is an immediate reaction and a long-term response; through Week of Compassion, Disciples are there the whole way.
Since the news of these storms, Week of Compassion has been in touch with Regional Ministers and local church pastors. While the situations are still being assessed, initial reports are of some level of damage to three churches in the St Louis area, and while no Disciples congregations in eastern Kentucky have been impacted, several member families are affected.
Week of Compassion is also in touch with our ecumenical partners in affected areas, already at work on emergent needs of safety and shelter. These partners are already creating response plans rooted in community assets and partner relationships, and making preparation for long-term recovery in these communities.
‘How can we help?’
This is our favorite question. It is one that makes Disciples who they are, and empowers Week of Compassion in the ministry we do together. We have three quick answers:
1. Stay in touch. We are grateful for Disciples who are eager to step in and volunteer; right now, in the first days and weeks, the situation is best left to professional responders. When our partners determine ways for volunteer response - and there will be many opportunities, for a long time to come - Week of Compassion will be ready to make those connections. We will keep you posted as plans develop. If you do not already receive our emails, or follow us on social media, now would be a great time!
2. Giving to Week of Compassion - designated ‘US Storms’ - brings Disciples alongside our partners as needs emerge and as long-term plans take shape. Gifts can be made online, or by mail to Week of Compassion, POBox 1986, Indianapolis IN 46206.
3. Remain steadfast in prayer - for our regional ministers and staff, for local pastors and their congregations, for first responders and local entities going about the work of caring for their communities, and for all those who give time, talent, and resource in response to a neighbor in need.
And so in Christ, we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
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