Disaster Relief Programs Provide Statistics for 2008

Church of the Brethren Newsline
March 31, 2009

Church of the Brethren programs that respond to disaster have released statistics for 2008, in a recent issue of the Bridges newsletter. The programs are Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children’s Disaster Services, Material Resources, and the Emergency Disaster Fund.

Brethren Disaster Ministries repairs and rebuilds homes following disasters, and also serves as the guiding organization for grants for disaster relief around the world provided through the Emergency Disaster Fund. In 2008, Brethren Disaster Ministries fielded five rebuilding projects in the US, three in Louisiana continuing response to Hurricane Katrina–in Pearl River, Chalmette, and East New Orleans–as well as sites in Rushford, Minn., and Johnson County, Ind., both doing rebuilding following flooding.

Brethren Disaster Ministries fielded 1,532 volunteers in 2008, serving 127 families for a total of 102,872 volunteer hours. This represents an estimated value of $2,007,033 (estimating $19.51 per hour for volunteer time based on the average hourly wage for non-agricultural workers, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, plus 12 percent for estimated benefits).

Children’s Disaster Services offers care for children and families following disasters in the United States. The program responded to 10 disasters in 2008, ranging from flooding in Indiana and Iowa, to hurricanes on the Gulf coast, to wildfires and a train accident in California. During 2008, 143 volunteers responded, serving 2,969 children and giving a total of 11,208 hours for an estimated value of $218,668. In addition, Children’s Disaster Services held workshops in 12 locations across the country, training 151 people with leadership given by 27 volunteers for an estimated value of $15,475 (based on an average educator’s wage of $20.47 per hour).

The Material Resources program based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., processes, warehouses, and ships relief materials on behalf of a number of ecumenical partner agencies. In 2008, Material Resources shipped 2,652,656 pounds of kits, quilts, and blankets in a total of 128 shipments, using the labor of 1,596 volunteers in 240 work groups. The value of the shipments came to $11,881,831.37. The program also shipped 866,104 pounds of medical supplies in 3,679 shipments, totaling a value of $8,360,160.82. The program’s long-distance hauling component logged 25,939 miles during the year.

Allocations from the Emergency Disaster Fund were given in amounts ranging from $2,300 to $100,000, to total $849,000. The 45 grants included 21 grants responding to disasters in the US, and 23 international grants responding to disasters in 20 different countries. The fund sent $440,500 to respond to hurricanes and cyclones, $152,500 for floods and tornados, $145,500 for war and civil unrest, $62,000 for earthquakes, $42,500 for the food crisis, and $6,000 for other types of disasters.

Click here for more information about the Church of the Brethren’s programs responding to disaster.

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact cobnews@brethren.org to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“More seeking church help in slow economy,” Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion (March 30, 2009). Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and its minister of pastoral care, Darlene Stouffer, are featured in an article about local congregations who believe in offering a helping hand, or even a free meal, in good times as well as bad. http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_12026750

“Safety emphasized at children’s fair,” Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion (March 29, 2009). The Brethren Life Center at Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren hosted a “Get Ready, Get Set, Learn Children’s Fair” on Saturday, March 28, sponsored by the Franklin County Early Childhood And Education Community Engagement Program. Some 200 people attended. http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_12021523

“Theater + Dinner = One Tasty Church Fundraiser,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (March 27, 2009). Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va.,, has a new approach to fundraising, and a community with a taste for entertainment is eating it up. Pleasant Valley now draws upon the thespian skills of its members to bankroll worthy causes. This weekend, the church holds its fourth annual dinner theater for three straight nights, starting April 2, to help finance an irrigation system for a crop garden on which Pleasant Valley grows produce for the Verona Food Pantry. http://www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?

“Church helping to support child in need of transplant,” Cumberland (Md.) Times-News (March 26, 2009). Attending Living Stone Church of the Brethren in Cumberland, Md., every Sunday with her older brother and sister and her uncles, one wouldn’t suspect the happy 2-year-old girl is sick. But Jaelyn Spencer was born with polycystic kidney disease and will need a kidney transplant in the near future. Matthew Cuppert, youth leader at Living Stone, is spearheading a benefit to help raise money for Spencer and her family. http://www.times-news.com/local/local_story_085233528.html

Obituary: Elizabeth K. “Betty” DeLong, Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal (March 26, 2009). Elizabeth K. “Betty” DeLong, 82, of Mansfield, Ohio, died on March 24 at Mifflin Care Center. A homemaker, she was a member of Mansfield Church of the Brethren where she volunteered in many areas. She was also very involved with her children and grandchildren. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Mervin L. DeLong. http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/

“‘Faith in Action’ at Herndon Church,” Herndon (Va.) Connection (March 25, 2009). Brown paper bags lined tabletops, as an assembly line was created for ham sandwich construction. Volunteers dropped packets of mustard and salt into open bags. One volunteer dried leaves of lettuce as she chatted with a fellow church parishioner about the virtue of romaine lettuce versus its mellower iceberg cousin. On Saturday afternoon, March 21, volunteers gathered at Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va., to prepare around 150 bag lunches and at least 10 gallons of soup for distribution among the homeless population of Washington, D.C. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/

“Erwin church demonstrates how to keep your faith,” Erwin (Tenn.) Record (March 24, 2009). An opinion piece lauds Erwin (Tenn.) Church of the Brethren for keeping its faith alive. The congregation broke ground for a new church building on March 15, after losing the previous building to a fire last June. http://www.erwinrecord.net/

“A Little Help, a Lot of Hope: Churches, Clubs Join to Create New Food Pantry,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (March 24, 2009). Three Church of the Brethren congregations in the Harrisonburg and Dayton areas of Virginia–Fairview Church of the Brethren, Greenmount Church of the Brethren, and Mount Bethel Church of the Brethren–are among the 10 churches, Ruritan clubs, and a Boy Scout troop who are jointly sponsoring a new food pantry. The West Rockingham Food Pantry has opened in the fellowship hall at Cooks Creek Presbyterian Church. It will be a branch of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. http://www.dnronline.com/skyline_details.

Obituary: Hazel F. Hall, Staunton (Va.) News Leader (March 24, 2009). Hazel Lucille (French) Hall, 81, died on March 21 at her residence. She was a member of Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Prior to retirement, she was employed by Arlington Hospital as a nurse’s aide. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Irvin Hall Jr. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20090324/

“Former Manchester College President Dies,” Inside Indiana Business (March 23, 2009). Former longtime Manchester College President A. Blair Helman has died. He led the college from 1956 to 1986, overseeing construction of new residence halls, the Funderburg Library, and a physical education and recreation center. Helman was 88. http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=34649

“Joseph Kosek Will Lecture on Radical Christian Pacifists on March 25 at Library of Congress,” Library of Congress (March 6, 2009). Joseph Kip Kosek, assistant professor at George Washington University and a member of Oakton Church of the Brethren, will discuss the impact of radical Christian pacifists on American democratic theory and practice, at the Library of Congress on March 25 beginning at 4 p.m. He is the author of “Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy” and a former fellow of the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. The event is free and open to the public. http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-047.html

Obituary: Annabel F. Bullen, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (March 22, 2009). Annabel F. Bullen, 84, of Eaton, Ohio, died on March 20 in her home at the Suites of Greenbriar. She was a member of Eaton Church of the Brethren. She had worked at the Preble County Department of Health for several years and was an active member of the Miami Valley Hospital School of Nursing Alumni. She was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, James E. Bullen, in 1993. http://www.pal-item.com/article/20090322/

“Ben’s Bells : ‘Ultimate giver’ treats everyone with love,” Arizona Daily Star (March 21, 2009). The recipient of this week’s Ben’s Bell is Dotty Ledner, who’s been visiting lonely nursing home patients for decades, on top of all the work she does for her church, raising six children on her own, and doting on her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. About three years ago, she began attending Tucson (Ariz.) Church of the Brethren. “God is so good to me,” she said. http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/285342

“Wyomissing zoners grant variance for church sign,” Reading (Pa.) Eagle (March 20, 2009). The Wyomissing (Pa.) Zoning Hearing Board has granted two variances to Wyomissing Church of the Brethren for a new sign. The congregation is constructing a new church on its property. http://www.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=130535

“Franklin County milk makers shaking,” Roanoke (Va.) Times (March 20, 2009). Laird Bowman, a member of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Franklin County, Va., is featured in this newspaper article about the difficulties facing dairy farmers. No matter what happens, the sixth generation dairy farmer of Bowmont Farms says he’s not going anywhere. The 800-acre farm nestled between Boones Mill and Callaway has been in his family since 1839. http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/198326

“Lenten luncheons unite Mount Airy churches in faith,” Business Gazette, Gaithersburg, Md. (March 19, 2009). Some Mount Airy churches are celebrating together every Tuesday afternoon of Lent with food and a devotional. The tradition has been going on for more than 23 years. Wallace “Bud” Lusk, former pastor at Mount Airy Full Gospel Church and current assistant at Locust Grove Church of the Brethren, was one of the pastors who helped start it. http://www.gazette.net/stories/03192009/

“Pennsylvania Germans Focus of Festival,” Lebanon (Pa.) Daily News (March 19, 2009). On Saturday, March 21, the 14th Annual Pennsylvania German Heritage Festival will be held at Harrisburg (Pa.) Area Community College/Lebanon campus. Organized since its inception by James A. Dibert, adjunct professor of history and director of the Pennsylvania German Studies Program, the day-long event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a series of speakers, displays by craftsmen, music, and ethnic food. The Brethren Heritage Singers will perform at noon–an eight-member group from the Elizabethtown area singing in the traditional style of the Church of the Brethren. http://www.ldnews.com/ci_11949739?source=most_emailed

“Myersville woman spends year helping abused children,” Frederick (Md.) News-Post (March 18, 2009). While caring for abused and neglected children, Chelsea Spade has learned compassion for their parents. She is volunteering for a year at Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos in Houston, through Brethren Volunteer Service. She attended the Grossnickle Church of the Brethren growing up and has performed service activities through her church. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/

“A story of hope for the Swords: Couple is back together at Brethren Village,” Lancaster (Pa.) New Era (March 16, 2009). Gene and Barbara Swords are back together in their Brethren Village apartment, after a year of living apart. Gene Swords spent months recovering in the hospital, then rehabbing at Brethren Village’s health-care center, after a stroke. The Swords, now 80, met as opera-loving teenagers at a church camp, ended up at Elizabethtown College, and both retired from long careers with the Lampeter-Strasburg School District. For many years, they performed with the Lancaster Opera Co. http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/235133

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