CDS Volunteers in Oklahoma Care for More Than 1,000 Children

Photo by Patty Henry
CDS volunteers care for children in Moore, Okla., following a devastating tornado.

The number of children served by Children’s Disaster Services volunteers working in Moore, Okla., has now passed 1,000. The CDS volunteers are serving children and families affected by the tornado that devastated the town of Moore in May.

As of June 20, CDS has worked in Moore for more than 4 weeks and has served more than 1,020 children. Two teams of CDS volunteers have each finished two weeks of service, and another team started work in Moore this past weekend. John Elms is currently serving as project manager.

The volunteers last week visited the Plaza Tower Elementary School memorial and left a CDS smock, which they all wear to identify themselves as they work with disaster survivors in facilities set up in cooperation with the American Red Cross and FEMA.

“All had signed a CDS smock with verses, names and states. This was hung on the fence along with a CDS lanyard,” reported Elms. “A young man, Ian, approached us and took photos of our team next to the smock.

“The young man started telling us his story,” Elms wrote in an e-mail report. “His home of 15 years was across the street from the school. He was not there when the tornado hit and destroyed his home. He raced to his home to check on his mom and sister. The home had been totally destroyed and he started digging to try and find his family. Mom and sister arrived and had gone to a friend’s shelter. They continued to dig for their seven dogs and cats. It took them a week to find the animals and they all survived. However, eight of his neighbors died.”

“As of Thursday, 6/20, we have surpassed the milestone of 1,000 children, averaging about 40-60 daily for 4 weeks,” reported Hallie Pilcher, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker serving with Brethren Disaster Ministries. “We are sending in a third team of volunteers today and tomorrow. So far we have had 19 volunteers with 10 headed in for the next team. We continue to serve in the West Moore High School.

“We are not sure at this point how much longer we will be there, as the numbers continue to be unusually high for this late after a disaster,” Pilcher added. “On Weds., 6/19, we saw 60 children again, so there is no decline in numbers yet.”

For more reflections from the CDS response in Moore, Okla., see Kathy Howell’s blog at Okc-howell.blogspot.com or Katie Nees’ blog at NeesDisaster.Blogspot.com . To give to the Children’s Disaster Services response in Moore, Okla., donate to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) online at www.brethren.org/edf or by mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

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