Q&A: Disaster Response

Brethren Disaster Ministries executive Roy Winter answers frequently asked questions about the role of the church’s disaster response in the wake of heart-wrenching disasters in Louisiana and in Italy:

Photo courtesy of CDS
A tower built by children receiving care from CDS in a shelter in Baton Rouge.

The Church of the Brethren is supporting the people of Louisiana through Children’s Disaster Services and Material Resources shipments. Are there other Church of the Brethren funds or projects to which money can be sent to reach those in need in Louisiana?

Right now the greatest need is support of Children’s Disaster Services, which is supported through donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), and the shipping of relief materials from our Material Resources program based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Brethren Disaster Ministries will be connected with the longer term response in Louisiana, but it will be months before the unmet needs are determined and local recovery plans are developed. There are many organizations providing emergency relief, feeding, and sheltering. In the early phase of the response our Church of the Brethren niche is caring for children, and the material warehouse.

Our two volunteer rebuilding projects right now are in South Carolina, which suffered terrible flooding about a year ago, and in Detroit, affected by flooding two years ago. Both of these Brethren Disaster Ministries projects also need additional support as we work to help families get back into their homes.

Being focused on the long-term recovery of families means we are doing the most work long after the news trucks have left. Thus, raising funds for these programs is a challenge. We accept donations to the EDF to support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, either online at www.brethren.org/edf or by check to: Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Is the Church of the Brethren responding to the earthquake in Italy?

At this time Brethren Disaster Ministries is choosing to not respond. There are many needs for aid in the world right now, and Italy has a lot of resources to help its own people. Instead, we will focus our international efforts on the millions of people displaced by violence in Nigeria, Syria, and other countries where there is no local aid and our support is really desperately needed.

Please let me know if I can offer any additional information.

–Roy Winter, associate executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Global Mission and Service. Contact rwinter@brethren.org or 410-635-8748.



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