Brethren Disaster Ministries closes Coastal Carolinas project, Children’s Disaster Services continues work at border

In updates from Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), the rebuilding project site in North Carolina has been closed, with the prospect of reopening the site this fall. CDS has sent a third volunteer team to Texas to work with migrant children and families at the border

Brethren Disaster Ministries

The “Coastal North Carolina” rebuilding project of Brethren Disaster Ministries closed May 1. A celebration service was held on April 24 for staff, volunteers, and partner organizations to celebrate the 23 homes that have been completed. This site was begun after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas in September 2018. Preliminary conversations are occurring regarding the possibility of reopening this site in October, since it is likely there will still be work to do there, according to Brethren Disaster Ministries director Jenn Dorsch-Messler.

Brethren Disaster Ministries hosted a short-term “Derecho Recovery” rebuilding project in Iowa on June 1-6, following the derecho that hit the state and other areas of the Midwest in August 2020. A derecho is a severe straight-line wind event that can cause as much damage as a tornado. Brethren Disaster Ministries is working with National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and the Church of the Brethren’s Northern Plains District, with assistance from a Lowes grant. The work is led by Matt Kuecker, district disaster coordinator in Northern Plains.

New from Brethren Disaster Ministries is a video about its work, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s96pbXpUE8.

“It was a busy last week at the Bayboro site as we were winding down the project,” said a Facebook post from Brethren Disaster Ministries about the house blessing held for the final home that was completed in Pamlico County, N.C. “We are grateful for the many volunteers who contributed to the completion of this house, as well as our wonderful partner agencies–Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders and Pamlico Co. Disaster Recovery Coalition. Jennifer, we were blessed to have the opportunity to know you and serve you. Welcome home Jennifer!”

CDS shares love in play dough form at the border facility where volunteers are caring for migrant children and families. Photo by P.Henry

Children’s Disaster Services

CDS associate director Lisa Crouch has shared that CDS staff is busy with the deployment of volunteer teams in Texas, working with migrant children and families at the border. A third CDS team is deployed to the facility serving migrant families after the first two CDS teams that worked onsite there concluded their work and returned home.

The first CDS team to serve at the border had 720 child contacts and the second team had 660 child contacts, but the third team has been the busiest so far with a daily average of around 80 children. CDS plans to take a break from responding at this facility once the third team wraps up in early June, but plans to work on a longer term plan to support the facility in the coming weeks.

“Good work, but heavy work, and taxing on resources,” was the comment shared in an email from Brethren Disaster Ministries. It noted that, because of the pandemic, these are the first teams of CDS volunteers to serve in person for more than a year.

“It feels good to be back out there interacting with the children,” said Crouch. She visited the facility at the border to work with the first team in early May.

For more about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm. For more about Children’s Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds.

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