Volunteers from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a program of the Church of the Brethren and its Brethren Disaster Ministries, were deployed to a Red Cross shelter in Oregon City, Ore., after an apartment building was evacuated. The evacuation was carried out because of concerns about landslides in the aftermath of strong storms on the Pacific coast.
More recently, CDS was put on alert that childcare is needed in areas along the Mississippi River affected by flooding. “We are deploying a team of six CDS volunteers Monday and Tuesday of next week (Jan. 11-12) to a MARC, Multi Agency Resource Center, in Pacific, Mo., in response to the floods,” reported associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller.
Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by disasters.
The Red Cross in the Cascades Region communicated a need for childcare for families evacuated from the apartment building, noting that there were several children at the shelter. Although the shelter population was in flux through the time of the CDS response, from Dec. 26-31, the volunteers cared for a total of 45 children. Carol Elms was project manager, leading a team of six CDS volunteers.
A Facebook post by CDS expressed gratitude for volunteers willing to set aside their own holiday plans: “The holidays are a time of celebration and get-togethers with family and friends for many people. However, this Christmas, many people across the United States were affected by winter weather, mudslides, flooding, and other disasters. We are especially grateful for volunteers in Oregon and Washington States that responded to a call to set up a child care center in Oregon City, December 26. Thank you to everyone who responded and were willing to serve during such a meaningful season for so many!”
For more information about the work of CDS go to www.childrensdisasterservices.org .