|Photo by Children’s Disaster Services|
|A view of one set up for a Children’s Disaster Services child care center in a large shelter. This center was set up by volunteers serving children and families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.|
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is aiding children in Louisiana who have been displaced by Hurricane Isaac. Fifteen CDS volunteers were deployed to this heavily impacted area on Sept. 3. R. Jan Thompson is serving as project manager for the response.
As of Sept. 4, the group of CDS volunteers split up into two teams and have set up temporary child care centers in separate American Red Cross shelters. Fourteen volunteers are working in two larger shelters in the towns of Baker and Gonzales, La. Thompson is working out of Port Allen, La., to coordinate the response.
“They are very busy with children, taking the children in shifts,” reports Roy Winter, associate executive director for Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries. “Jan is talking with RC (the Red Cross) about the need for additional volunteers.” The CDS volunteers are all staying in a Red Cross staff shelter that has been set up in a filming studio, Winter said.
“Everything is very fluid and changing quickly,” Winter added. “These shelters will likely move sometime this week as they are schools, and schools will reopen next week.”
“Please keep our volunteers and all disaster survivors–especially the littlest ones–in your prayers,” said CDS staff on the program’s Facebook page.
CDS had to wait several days before sending in its volunteers, some 250 of whom have been on alert since Tropical Storm Isaac was on its way across the Caribbean to the Gulf Coast. “Red Cross needs to know how long the shelters will be open before sending CDS in,” staff explained via Facebook.
Most recently, CDS volunteers spent nine days in August caring for children affected by fires in Oklahoma. CDS is a Church of the Brethren ministry that has been meeting the needs of children since 1980. Working cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross, CDS provides trained and certified volunteers to set up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disasters.
Updates from CDS are posted regularly at www.facebook.com/cds.cob . Go to www.brethren.org/cds for more about CDS and a list of fall workshops to train more CDS volunteers at a variety of locations around the country.