Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to support rebuilding projects in South Carolina and Detroit, as well as disaster relief work in South Sudan.
In related news, Brethren Disaster Ministries reports via Facebook that with support from an EDF grant announced earlier this month, the Haitian Church of the Brethren (l’Eglise des Freres Haitiens) has begun distributing food and supplies to survivors of Hurricane Matthew. On Oct. 20 the first distribution was held in Bois Leger, when 73 families received food and supplies, as well as canned chicken provided by Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts. Tarpaulins were provided to 25 families.
An allocation of $45,000 has opened a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project near Columbia, S.C., to continue the recovery from the October 2015 flooding. FEMA received more than 101,500 registrations for aid from those affected by the flooding. Brethren Disaster Ministries has been working through a partnership with the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to help repair some of those damaged homes as part of the Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI). The DRSI partner site will be closing after Oct. 29, and will not be available for volunteer support from any denomination. In order to continue the much needed long-term recovery work in the state and help fulfill the commitments of this grant funding, Brethren Disaster Ministries is opening a rebuilding project in the same area of South Carolina.
An additional allocation of $35,000 continues rebuilding work by Brethren Disaster Ministries in northwest Detroit, Mich. The project is rebuilding homes destroyed or damaged after a large storm system drenched southeastern Michigan in August 2014. The Northwest Detroit Recovery Project has been the sole group working on the northwest side of the city supporting homeowners for the past two years. Since April, volunteer labor has been provided primarily by Brethren Disaster Ministries. The grant will underwrite operational expenses related to volunteer support, including housing, food, and travel expenses incurred on the project, and volunteer training, tools, and equipment needed for the rebuilding work. At the end of the year, it will help cover moving expenses as the project is packed up and moved to another site to be determined. Small portions of the grant will go to the Northwest Detroit Flood Recovery Project to help with construction materials. A previous grant of $45,000 was made to this project in March.
An additional allocation of $5,000 has continued the Church of the Brethren response to increasing food insecurity in South Sudan. At the time of the grant request, Brethren mission worker Athanasus Ungang reported some 2,100 households and another 1,000 individuals who might not survive without some type of aid, in the area where the relief work has been carried out. This grant supported additional distributions of food aid, after a first and second distribution of food had been completed. Since that time the crisis expanded, with South Sudan calling it a state of emergency due to food shortages in the state of Imatong. Grants totaling $18,000 supported the previous food distributions that were made earlier this year.
For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund and to contribute financially to these relief efforts, go to www.brethren.org/edf.