Children’s Disaster Services deploys teams to three cities in Texas

Church of the Brethren Newsline
August 31, 2017

Mary, one of the CDS volunteers, holds a baby at one of the “mega shelters” in Texas. She is one of dozens of Children’s Disaster Services volunteers being deployed in response to Hurricane Harvey and the flooding caused by the storm. The response will be the largest in a decade for CDS, according to Brethren Disaster Ministries. Photo by Pat Krabacher.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is now deploying teams of volunteers to aid children and families in shelters in three Texas cities: San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. “We have 24 people as of today and another 30 will be arriving over the next week to replace those teams,” reported CDS staff.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has a new webpage providing up-to-date information on the Harvey response, and a link to support the response with financial gifts, at .

This will be the largest CDS response in more than a decade, said Brethren Disaster Ministries. CDS volunteers are staffing childcare centers in shelters housing people who have been evacuated or have fled homes flooded in Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

At the same time CDS has had volunteers caring for children in Kansas City this week, at a Multi Agency Resource Center set up in response to devastating flash floods earlier this month. “CDS volunteers provided meaningful play activities, and calm, nurturing care for these children,” staff reported, “letting families know their hardships were not forgotten.”

“The San Antonio team has had 50 children in the smaller shelter the past day and a half. The CDS team moved to a mega shelter set up for 2,300 people today. The other two teams will set up in larger shelters tomorrow in Austin and Dallas,” said staff, via a Facebook post. “We are keeping the people of Texas in our thoughts and prayers!

Because of the extreme need for CDS volunteers and their services, Brethren Disaster Ministries is reporting that it is possible that “Just In Time” trainings for additional volunteers may be held on-site in Texas, with immediate background checks. This may be done to temporarily certify local volunteers to help expand the response. “If you are currently in Texas and interested in signing up for this training, contact CDS at or 410-635-8735,” said an announcement.

CDS volunteer Stephanie helps care for a child at one of Texas’ “mega shelters.” Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers with Children’s Disaster Services provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural and human-caused disasters. Photo by Pat Krabacher.

Kits and clean-up buckets

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are coordinating response efforts and planning with Church World Service and other partners. At this time, the urgent need is for Gift of the Heart Clean-up Buckets and Hygiene Kits. These kits are warehoused and shipped by the Materials Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

For more about the kits go to . Deliver completed kits to the Brethren Service Center, 601 Main Street, New Windsor, MD 21776-0188. Contact 410-635-8797 or for more information.

Find more Harvey response information at along with a link to support the response with financial gifts.

In other disaster relief news

An ongoing rebuilding project site of Brethren Disaster Ministries in South Carolina has been moved from Columbia–where Brethren Disaster Ministries work has finished up–to Marion County. Volunteers will help with recovery from Hurricane Matthew, which hit South Carolina in October 2016. Marion County was one of the hardest-hit areas. Brethren Disaster Ministries will be partnering with Palmetto Disaster Recovery and other local organizations.

An Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) grant of $22,000 was given to close out the Columbia rebuilding project site, and a grant of $45,000 has been given to start up the rebuilding project site in Marion County.

An EDF grant of $45,000 is funding a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Eureka, Mo., where in December 2015, Winter Storm Goliath brought severe weather and set historic water level records across the state. This spring brought at least 10 inches of rain in 10 days, causing more damage and destruction. Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers began serving the week of July 8, so far doing construction work needed on vacant mobile homes in disrepair in a neighborhood that was not flooded. “Once these homes are safe, sanitary, and secure,” said a report from Brethren Disaster Ministries, “they will go to flood affected families so they can relocate to homes on higher ground than their previous residence.” The site is projected to be active at least through the end of 2017 and perhaps longer than that.

For more about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to . For more about Children’s Disaster Services go to . For more about the Harvey response and how to support it go to .

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