“During a disaster such as this, now is the time to remember that the most important humanitarian donation an individual can make is cash,” notes Brethren Disaster Ministries in an e-mail update this week about its response to Hurricane Sandy. The reminder comes at a time when the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF)–which spports the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries–has made its first grants toward the Sandy relief effort.
Church members who are considering contributions to support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services may make out checks to the Emergency Disaster Fund. Mail donations to: Church of the Brethren, Attn: EDF, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; or make donations at www.brethren.org/edf .
“Once damage assessments are complete, Brethren Disaster Ministries will develop plans for future long-term recovery activities including major home repairs and rebuilds,” reports Roy Winter, associate executive director. “We will also support Church World Service in developing Long Term Recovery plans, providing technical and financial support, and providing onsite Long Term Recovery training in stricken communities.
“This is just the beginning of Hurricane Sandy response and recovery,” he adds. “We have all seen the scope of destruction and know it will take years to rebuild the lives of all who lost their homes. Brethren Disaster Ministries is working on behalf of the church to be a light for children and other Super Storm Sandy survivors.”
Brethren Disaster Ministries has requested an EDF allocation of $25,000 to support Church World Service work with local, state, and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to respond to immediate needs of Sandy survivors. The grant also will help assess needs for long-term recovery. CWS staff are ready to provide training, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, and case management as needed, and will support long-term recovery groups with start-up grants.
An EDF allocation of $8,000 supports the CWS appeal for areas of Haiti and Cuba affected by the hurricane. Sandy caused serious destruction and loss of lives in both Caribbean countries. The grant helps pay for a comprehensive assessment by CWS of needs in Haiti and Cuba and initial recovery efforts of partner organizations, the Cuban Council of Churches and the Christian Center for Integrated Development in Haiti.
An EDF grant of $30,000 has been made to start a Brethren Disaster Ministries repair and rebuilding project site in Binghamton, N.Y., following catastrophic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee in Sept. 2011. In the days following the storm, local faith-based leaders quickly formed a coalition called “Faith Partners in Recovery,” which was eventually charged with handling cases of unmet construction needs for families without adequate resources, and coordinating the efforts of volunteers. As cleanup efforts ended and repair work began, fewer volunteers responded, and so Faith Partners in Recovery has requested repair and rebuilding teams from Brethren Disaster Ministries. The project site opens Nov. 25. The grant underwrites operational expenses related to volunteer support including housing, food, and travel expenses incurred onsite as well as volunteer training, tools, and equipment.