Children's Disaster Services
Caring for children after disasters has been a ministry of the Church of the Brethren since 1979, when R. Jan Thompson noticed children waiting in line with their parents for disaster assistance. The waits were long in the hot sun, and if you got out of line you lost your place. Fights broke out while people waited and at that time, there was no bottled water, no food distribution for those who were waiting. Jan realized that these conditions were creating a different kind of disaster for the children.
A team of psychologists and educators was gathered, and the concept of Children’s Disaster Services was created. A volunteer workshop was developed and the program was underway, providing volunteers to care for children after a tornado in May 1980.
Since then, over 2,800 volunteers have cared for more than 83,000 children in response to over 200 disasters such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, ice storms, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, and aviation incidents.