Children’s Disaster Services Readies Team to Go to Oklahoma

Photo by FEMA/Tony Robinson
Tornado destruction in Moore, Okla.

Children’s Disaster Services readies team to go to Oklahoma; Brethren urged to support the work of child care volunteers through donations to the EDF

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a department within Brethren Disaster Ministries, is preparing to send members of its Critical Response Team to care for children and families affected by the powerful tornado that struck Moore, Okla., yesterday afternoon causing 24 confirmed deaths including at least 7 elementary school children.

The American Red Cross has confirmed the need for CDS volunteers to care for children in their Family Assistance Centers. CDS is mobilizing two teams to be at work in Oklahoma by tomorrow, including four Critical Response Childcare volunteers, several regional caregivers, and a project manager. The Critical Response Team has additional training to help children and families cope with extreme trauma and loss of loved ones.

Established in 1980, Children’s Disaster Services works cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide care for children and families following disasters, through the work of trained and certified volunteers who set up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, the volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by disasters.

Donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) of the Church of the Brethren will support the response by Children’s Disaster Services. Go to or send a check to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Ecumenical relief effort begins through CWS

Church World Service (CWS) has announced that it will respond to the extensive damage caused by the tornadoes in the Oklahoma City and Moore, Okla. area, including provision of emergency supplies as needed. Brethren Disaster Ministries is one of the agencies that participates in and supports the ecumenical disaster relief work of CWS.

More will be known in coming days about the details of the CWS response. “We have worked extensively in communities struck by tornadoes in the region,” said Donna Derr, the agency’s chief of emergencies. “Our job is to provide immediate assistance with CWS Kits, and focus on helping the most vulnerable, who typically have the hardest time recovering in the long term.”

Information about how to assemble a CWS Kit is at . These kits provide immediate relief supplies to people affected by disasters, and are warehoused and shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

How to help

Donate online at or send a check to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) will help support the response by Children’s Disaster Services and by CWS.

Brethren Disaster Ministries reminds church members of the importance of donating responsibly. Cash donations are best. The Oklahoma VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is asking Americans to “do the following things to make our collaborative effort as effective as possible for our neighbors in need: At this time, please ask your organizations to make financial donations only until other types of donations are requested.  We all KNOW not heeding this request can lead to the second disaster after the disaster. Please instruct all volunteers associated with your organization … to NOT self-deploy. Best practices include a collaborative response, so people are directed WHEN NEEDED and WHERE NEEDED so their help and skills are most needed and will be most effective.”

Go to for more information about responsible and helpful donations following disasters . Another National VOAD website directly relates to the tornadoes: .

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