“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″
(Oct. 29, 2008) — Recent grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund have been given to the US hurricane response, to Brethren flood response in Indiana, and to the Zimbabwe food crisis.
An allocation of $20,000 from the fund responds to a growing food crisis in Zimbabwe, through CWS. It is estimated that up to four million people in Zimbabwe will need food aid beginning in October. The grant will help support monthly food rations and agricultural recovery.
Brethren Disaster Ministries requested an allocation of $35,000 from the fund in response to an expanded Church World Service (CWS) appeal for US hurricane response. These funds will support longterm recovery work in southern Louisiana, as well as providing CWS with material aid, staff deployment for trainings, and financial support to longterm recovery groups in Texas.
Brethren Disaster Ministries also has received a grant of $15,000 for work in Johnson County, Ind., following heavy rains and flooding. The area had 900 homes suffer damage, with the longterm recovery committee reporting 250 cases pending and waiting for help. The funds will go to a Brethren Disaster Ministries project to repair and rebuild homes, that will open in early November. The grant will pay for volunteer housing, food, onsite expenses, tools, and equipment.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has been working closely with pastor Chuck Berdel of Christ Our Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Greenwood, Ind. Berdel is also the Construction Committee chairman for the Johnson County Long-Term Recovery Committee. He reports that more needs are emerging as the weeks go by. “The time is critical to begin before cold weather gets here,” he said. The project is anticipated to continue well into 2009.
In other news from Brethren Disaster Ministries, the Children’s Disaster Services program has completed responses to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike on the Gulf Coast, and a response to the southern California wildfires. Brethren Disaster Ministries has sent an assessment team to Haiti to help formulate a Brethren response to the four tropical storms or hurricanes that have devastated that country this year.
The Brethren Disaster Ministries flood recovery project in Rushford, Minn., held its first house dedication on Sept. 30 for the Hanson family. Two more homes are near completion, three are progressing, and the foundation has been poured on the seventh home and final home in the project. The project is scheduled to be completed and closed on Dec. 14.
The Brethren Disaster Ministries Hurricane Katrina recovery project in Chalmette, La., in the St. Bernard Parish continues, with volunteers having repaired 85 homes since January 2007.
The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. Submit news to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.