Brethren Disaster Ministries is partnering with the disaster ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to form a Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI). The new initiative is intended to help speed up the process of getting volunteers in place to begin repair and rebuilding work following a disaster.
“Usually it has been taking years to ready a site for rebuilding efforts--securing funds, forming a long-term recovery group, and doing the case work to approve families needing help,” explained the announcement from Brethren Disaster Ministries staff. The DRSI will assist local partner organizations in getting a long-term recovery group formed and volunteers in place much more quickly.
As part of this Initiative, the DRSI is supporting recovery work in South Carolina in two ways after the extreme flooding and storms in Oct. 2015. First, a long-term volunteer has been deployed and has been supporting the long-term recovery groups as they are forming, by attending meetings, sharing information, and walking with local leaders as they plan the recovery. A DRSI rebuilding project also has opened to start construction work on damaged and destroyed homes. The state of South Carolina is jump-starting the process by pulling cases from FEMA records. As a result, volunteers are able to apply to work in West Columbia, S.C., as of Jan. 10.
The rebuilding site in West Columbia is not considered a traditional Brethren Disaster Ministries project yet, however. This means that volunteers interested in working there will need to contact Lana Landis at SCprojectdrsi@gmail.com or 330-701-6042 to confirm space for groups of up to 12 volunteers. Volunteers should have their own transportation to the work sites, will purchase and prepare their own meals, and will pay $50 each week to the volunteer housing church, Holy Apostles Orthodox Christian Church at 724 Buff St. In West Columbia.
For more information or to request assistance with the housing costs, call Brethren Disaster Ministries at 800-451-4407.