Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to finance a new rebuilding project in North Carolina following Hurricane Florence, efforts by Peak Creek Church of the Brethren to aid families affected by an earthquake in North Carolina, and Northern Plains District clean-up after the “derecho” storms and powerful straight-line winds that caused major destruction in Iowa.
In international grants, a partner organization in Lebanon has received funds to aid people in Beirut in the wake of a port explosion, and funds have been given to the COVID-19 response of Iglesia de los Hermanos “Una Luz En Las Naciones” (the Church of the Brethren in Spain, “A Light to the Nations”).
A grant of $32,500 finances a new rebuilding project of Brethren Disaster Ministries following Hurricane Florence. The hurricane made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 14, 2018. The rebuilding site is in Pamlico County where a disaster relief coalition reports that more than 200 families have not yet completely recovered.
The Pamlico County Disaster Relief Coalition is the primary partner organization for Brethren Disaster Ministries, supported early in its development by the Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI) partner project of the Church of the Brethren and two other denominations.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has been monitoring guidance from health authorities to determine the safety of volunteers and necessary COVID-19 protocols to put in place. If there should be cancellations due to COVID-19, grant funds will not be spent in their entirety.
Also in North Carolina, a grant of $5,000 has gone to Peak Creek Church of the Brethren for earthquake response. A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck near Sparta, N.C., on Aug. 9. Peak Creek Church in nearby Laurel Springs has been supporting church members and those immediately connected with the church, and will use the grant to expand that support to families with the most needs in the wider community.
A grant of $1,350 helps fund Northern Plains District’s response to the Aug. 10 derecho that blew across several states in the Midwest causing widespread damage. The storm traveled 770 miles, from South Dakota and Nebraska to Ohio, in 14 hours, crossing Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana as it went.
Members of the district began helping with clean-up just days after the event, with a larger effort organized by district disaster coordinator Matt Kuecker over Labor Day weekend. During a five-day period, volunteers worked more than 500 hours primarily in Union, Iowa, removing trees and debris for two families unable to do it on their own, and doing clean-up at the Union community cemetery and on the grounds of Iowa River Church of the Brethren. The grant helps pay for volunteer meals and rental of equipment to remove fallen trees and unsafe limbs.
A grant of $10,000 has been given to the COVID-19 response of the Church of the Brethren in Spain, where the nation is experiencing a fall surge of new cases. Church leaders have reported that it is heavily affecting the seven churches, with one congregation having had to close after a COVID-19 outbreak.
In the church in the city of Gijón, as of Sept. 25, 33 members had tested positive and another 12 had symptoms out of a membership of about 70 people. This week Wednesday, the Spanish Brethren shared prayer for the death of prominent member Doña Hilaria Carrasco Peréz, mother of pastor Fausto Carrasco and Santos Terrero and a beloved matriarch of the church. She died on Sept. 30 after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
The grant will provide financial aid to church members who are in quarantine and unable to work. Many are recent immigrants to Spain or temporary workers, and some are not eligible for unemployment or any other COVID-19 relief funding. Expenses include food, medicine, hygiene supplies, hospital transportation, emergency rent support, and utility bills. A grant of $14,000 was made for this same purpose in late April, when Spain previously experienced a surge in cases and many church members were out of work.
A grant of $25,000 supports the work of the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD) following the massive port explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4. Following the explosion it quickly developed a nearly $3 million community response and recovery program, implemented by its community development and relief arm, MERATH, to assist survivors, working with churches and other ministries.
Grant funds will support housing and medical care for about 40 families whose homes were destroyed, many of whom sustained serious injuries; food vouchers for about 1,000 households; non-food items such as blankets, mattresses, and heating stoves to about 1,250 households; emergency hygiene kits for about 1,000 households affected by the blast and 4,000 households at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and psychosocial support for traumatized children.
To support this work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and its partners, give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/bdm .
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