Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are directing grant money to support a continuing home rebuilding effort in New York State following flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and a church effort to distribute canned chicken in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
A $40,000 grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) continues funding for the Brethren Disaster Ministries home repair and rebuilding project in New York State, originally started in the small town of Prattsville in July 2012, and now extended to the nearby community of Schoharie. These Catskill towns are located in some of the lowest income regions of New York, and an area where creeks rose over 15 feet in less than 12 hours devastating the lives of residents. Many of those affected were uninsured or elderly.
The grant provides the opportunity for volunteers to assist in the repair and rebuilding of homes for qualified individuals and families, underwriting operational expenses related to volunteer support including housing, food, travel expenses incurred on site, volunteer training, tools, and equipment. To date over 350 volunteers have provided over 2,500 days of labor to rebuild 15 homes for flood survivors. Previous allocations made to this project total $60,000.
An EDF grant of $13,000 is making it possible to “preposition” a supply of canned chicken in Haiti and the DR, for use in the event of disasters. The grant covers the cost of shipping canned chicken donated by the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts, customs fees, and in-country distribution costs.
Haiti and the DR are vulnerable to a variety of natural disasters, especially hurricanes and flooding. Last fall, for example, Hurricane Sandy brought heavy rain and winds that caused flooding and damaged homes in both countries, leaving many homeless and without stored food in communities with Church of the Brethren members. The grant provides for the prepositioning of 37,500 pounds of canned chicken, with the Haitian Church of the Brethren’s ministry center receiving 7,200 28-ounce cans and 10,800 cans designated for the DR, to be divided between the Dominican Church of the Brethren and the Social Service of Dominican Churches, a partner organization.