Brethren Disaster Ministries Opens Rebuilding Site in New Jersey, Illinois Tornado Clean Up

At the same time that Brethren Disaster Ministries is closing out project sites following Hurricane Irene in Schoharie and Binghamton, N.Y., the program is opening a new project site in Spotswood, N.J.

In other disaster relief news, Illinois and Wisconsin District disaster coordinator Rick Koch has called for volunteers to help in the clean up of tornado destruction in Illinois.

New rebuilding project site

“Thank you all for your support of the recovery in Schoharie, Prattsville, and Binghamton this past year,” said a note from Brethren Disaster Ministries coordinator Jane Yount. “You have helped change the lives of many, many people for the better.”

The new Hurricane Sandy recovery site in Spotswood, in northern Monmouth County, N.J., starts Jan. 5, 2014. Brethren Disaster Ministries web pages soon will feature updated project information at .

The program will continue to work with current partners from Future With Hope (UMCOR, N.J. conference), Monmouth LTRG, and Ocean LTRG to receive cases. Also, two repair jobs have been confirmed through Habitat for Humanity. Volunteer housing for the new project site will be located at Trinity United Methodist Church in Spotswood, with the program’s shower trailer to be made available at the new site.

Read a story about how disaster volunteers have helped one survivor of Superstorm Sandy return home for the holidays is at .

Photo courtesy of FEMA
An aerial view of tornado destruction in Washington, Ill.

Multiple disasters

Brethren Disaster Ministries reminds Brethren that the church has “witnessed two devastating disasters within days of each other. First, Typhoon Haiyan hammered the Philippine islands…. Days later, an outbreak of severe storms and powerful tornadoes struck the Midwest…. As always, please keep these and all disaster survivors lifted up in prayer,” requested Yount in an e-mail note.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is active in both responses and is receiving donations for both. Online donations for Typhoon Haiyan can be made at . Online donations for tornado response in the Midwest can be made at . Donations are received by check to the Emergency Disaster Fund, earmarked on the memo line for the Philippine Typhoon or the US Tornadoes. Mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Tornado clean up in Illinois

Illinois and Wisconsin District disaster coordinator Rick Koch is thanking all who have begun to help with the tornado clean up in Illinois, and the congregations and individuals who have donated to the relief effort

He has called for volunteers to help in the clean up. Volunteer groups must be approved, however. “If you are interested in putting together a team of workers from your church or area you can contact me and I will send you the info you need to get to work,” Koch said.

One urgent need is “folks who have and can operate skid loaders and other heavy machinery,” Koch said in an update sent out by e-mail today. “Earlier this week it rained in the area and now as you know we have had severe cold weather. On those sites not yet cleaned up, the debris is frozen to the ground. So we need this machinery to help move the frozen debris.” Volunteers who can help out in this way should contact Peoria Church of the Brethren directly, Koch requested.

He notes the need for relief goods varies around the state, and encourages congregations to contact area Red Cross chapters to find out current needs. For example, in the areas of Washington, Pekin, and East Peoria, Ill., there is a need for toys and brand name gift cards as Christmas approaches.

Koch will be in the tornado affected areas next week to deliver donated items and to attend a Long Term Recovery Team meeting. He would like to know how the Church of the Brethren has been helping in the effort. “If you or your church has been working in a specific way to help out, please send me notes of what you did, how many helped, and how long you worked. If you have made donations of goods or of money, please let me know of that as well.”

To volunteer for tornado clean up or to contact Rick Koch with information about your relief efforts, call 815- 499-3012.

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