2017 Hurricane Responses

The 2017 hurricane season brought devastating damage, flooding and death to areas in the mainland United States and the Caribbean. Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services were quick to respond to the emergency situations and are committed to supporting the affected communities in their long road to recovery.

Ways to Help

Volunteer in the Carolinas or the US Virgin Islands

Give to Hurricane Response

Or send a donation to

Emergency Disaster Fund
2017 Hurricane Response
Church of the Brethren
1451 Dundee Ave.
Elgin, IL 60120

Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean

Hurricanes Irma and Maria left a path of destruction in September across the islands of the Caribbean, with many places suffering through both storms, just two weeks apart.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico felt some effect from Hurricane Irma before bearing the full brunt of Hurricane Maria’s category 4 wind, rain and storm surge. Maria brought widespread destruction, flooding and mudslides. As the 2018 hurricane season approached, evidence of the damage was still apparent.

Photo by Sharon Franzén

The elderly couple living here are struggling to fix their home by themselves before the new hurricane season.

Photo by Sharon Franzén

This home received partial repairs with funds received by the Puerto Rico district.

All members of the seven churches of the Church of the Brethren’s Puerto Rico district were affected by the storms, as were their neighbors and the communities in which they live. The Church of the Brethren initially supported the district with emergency funds and a container of relief supplies. The district was able to help many families with food, water, medical care and to assist some with building supplies for temporary repairs.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is supporting the Puerto Rico district and its Recovery Committee’s long-term recovery planning to help families and communities with Church of the Brethren congregations. Once case management is completed, funds will be secured for the necessary services, material aid (appliances and furniture) and/or home rebuilding needed to help families become independent and find a “new normal” for life.

Volunteers from Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland will be needed to help repair and rebuild homes. For more information about volunteering in Puerto Rico, contact Terry Goodger at tgoodger@brethren.org or 410-635-8730.

U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)

Damage in the USVI from both Irma and Maria was widespread and devastating. BDM’s initial response in the USVI has been through the Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI, a partnership with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]). Working mainly on St. Thomas, DRSI staff have been working with and mentoring the St. Thomas Recovery Team (STRT) as they plan their recovery.

Over the next 12 months, in partnership with DRSI, STRT aims to complete repairs for over 100 households and develop individual recovery plans for 1,000 to 1,500 households, focusing on vulnerable populations.

BDM has reserved two-week time periods for BDM volunteers to work on St. Thomas. For information, contact Terry Goodger at tgoodger@brethren.orgor 410-635-8730

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the U.S.

Brethren Disaster Ministries monitored Hurricane Harvey as it made landfall in Texas and Hurricane Irma as it moved across the Atlantic and Caribbean and toward Florida.

Photo by Kim Kirkwood

A CDS volunteer reads to children in a shelter in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Children’s Disaster Services responded to both hurricanes with childcare teams serving in partnership with Red Cross and FEMA. Teams served in shelters and disaster recovery centers in Texas. In Florida, volunteers served in evacuation centers prior to the hurricane and in shelters after the storm. From August to mid-October, 75 CDS volunteers cared for over 1,400 children in 17 different locations.

BDM continues to be involved in discussions with partners in areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. For more information about how BDM and/or its partners are responding, or will respond, in these areas, please contact bdm@brethren.org.

Other BDM Responses

Responding to any disaster is a long-term effort that will take many years. BDM currently has a combined active rebuild site serving communities in North and South Carolina that were affected by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. For more information on this opportunity to serve now, contact Terry Goodger tgoodger@brethren.org or 410-635-8730.