How best to help: Advice from Brethren Disaster Ministries




A sample of a hygiene kit distributed to survivors of disasters
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

A sample of a hygiene kit distributed to survivors of disasters

“Financial donations are best,” said a communication from Brethren Disaster Ministries about how best to help aid those affected by the hurricanes. Also needed are donations of Church World Service (CWS) kits and clean-up buckets that are specifically designed to meet the immediate needs of disaster survivors.

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“Please do not send donated clothes and household items,” said the Brethren Disaster Ministries communication. “There is lack of space to store them and response groups must spend time organizing them instead of helping the survivors with their more urgent needs.

“Cash donations are always preferred over material donations. Cash can provide funds needed to meet immediate needs, including purchasing goods and services in disaster-stricken communities, boosting the local economy and lessening the need to transport items from a distance.” 

Monetary donations

A Hurricane Irma response fund has been created within the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) of the Church of the Brethren, to allow Brethren Disaster Ministries to provide support to survivors of Hurricane Irma both internationally and in the United States. Brethren Disaster Ministries will work in conjunction with partners and churches in the affected areas to help the most vulnerable in those communities to recover from this overwhelming storm.

Also, donations are still being received to the Hurricane Harvey response. These donations also are received into the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF).

Give donations online at www.brethren.org/edf . Send checks by mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma Response, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Kit and clean-up bucket donations

Individuals, congregations, and districts may consider collecting CWS Gift of the Heart kits, using the instructions at http://cwskits.org . These kits are urgently needed at this time, and may be delivered or sent to the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., or to other CWS kit collection depots.

More suggestions for action

-- Pray for all those impacted and for all the responders who are serving them.
-- Plan a disaster relief fundraiser.
-- Register for the waiting list to volunteer for Brethren Disaster Ministries at www.brethren.org/bdm/rebuild/volunteer.html .
-- Attend a Children’s Disaster Services training in order to become a CDS volunteer, able to serve children and families during future disasteres.
-- Contact National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD), which is taking names of people interested in volunteering. Your information will be shared with organizations when they begin accepting volunteers. Go to www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/hurricane-harvey-how-to-help .

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