Emergency Disaster Fund aids Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Florida, Honduras, Uganda, and Venezuela

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to support a rebuilding project in Tennessee, assistance to small-scale farmers affected by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, work by Children’s Disaster Services and Church of the Brethren congregations in Florida following Hurricane Ian, flood recovery work of the Christian Solidarity Program for Honduras, a flood relief program of the Church of the Brethren in Uganda, and a flood relief program of ASIGLEH (the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela).

To give financial support to the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, donate to the Emergency Disaster Fund at www.brethren.org/edf.


An allocation of $47,250 finances the completion of a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Waverly, Tenn. The project rebuilt homes affected by flooding in Aug. 2021, when a line of storms and rain moved through middle Tennessee, causing catastrophic flash flooding. A previous grant of $30,000 was allocated to this project in March 3.

While evaluating Waverly as a potential rebuilding site, staff found FEMA had approved 954 families for individual assistance funds. Even with this assistance, disaster case management in the area reported that there were still 600 families with some form of need they could not meet on their own, including 250 homes that were destroyed. Six months after the flooding, one church was still serving three meals a day to survivors, many of whom did not have homes or workable kitchens.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has been serving qualified families identified by the Humphreys County Long Term Recovery Group, with few other groups helping to repair and rebuild homes in this under-served area. The work is expected to continue through mid-December.

At the Hertz Arena shelter in Fort Myers, Fla., a photo from the Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) response to Hurricane Ian. CDS associate director Lisa Crouch is “diagnosed” by this young “doctor.” She was pronounced as having a temperature of “ten hundred and twenty.” Photo by Jenn Dorsch-Messler

Please pray… For the ministries receiving EDF grants to be successful in reaching those most in need and providing them with the aid they require.

Puerto Rico

An allocation of $49,500 supports the work of the Church of the Brethren’s Puerto Rico District to put in place a small farmer recovery program following September’s Hurricane Fiona. Possibly the hardest hit sector was agriculture, and the hurricane was particularly devastating to small-scale farmers who also lost crops in the previous Hurricane Maria.

District disaster coordinator José Acevedo, who retired after a career with the US Dept. of Agriculture, surveyed small farmers in the communities around the Church of the Brethren congregations to assess needs and abilities to recover. The district, through Acevedo’s work, identified and met with 32 small-scale farmers whose losses are at a level that prevents them from recovering without assistance. A plan has been developed to assist these farmers with small grants of up to $2,000 per farmer for up to 50 percent of the cost to replant their crops.

Staff of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative also will work on plans to support these farmers in transitioning to more sustainable crops.


An allocation $5,000 has supported the response to Hurricane Ian by Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) and Brethren Disaster Ministries. This grant has covered initial deployment costs for CDS volunteers to travel to Florida and begin work until transitioning to Red Cross lodging and support. The grant also covered an assessment visit to affected areas by a Brethren Disaster Ministries staff member and a CDS staff member.

A grant of $5,000 was given to North Fort Myers Church of the Brethren for its Hurricane Ian Relief Program providing a feeding ministry to vulnerable people affected by the Sept. 28 hurricane. The church is located in “an impoverished neighborhood” in the Fort Myers area, one of the most hard-hit. The need was great before the storm, according to church leaders in their grant request. In this neighborhood, homes and trailers have been destroyed or flooded, families are facing economic hardship, and there are large numbers of homeless people trying to survive. The church is continuing its feeding ministry which includes a food pantry, serving hotdogs one afternoon a week, a hot evening meal, and an additional evening meal program in partnership with another church.

A grant of $5,000 supports the food pantry at Sebring Church of the Brethren, due to increased need following Hurricane Ian. The storm increased needs in Highlands County, one of the poorest counties in Florida, including issues with employment, food, and housing. The church has a history of serving the community through a food pantry ministry aiding an average of to 65 to 125 families per week. Funds will be used to purchase food supplies.


A grant of $20,000 for the flood recovery work of the Christian Solidarity Program (CSP) for Honduras provides assistance to those affected by tropical storms and prolonged rains in September and October. Municipalities in 15 of the 18 departments (states) in Honduras, and more than 188,000 people including some of the same families displaced by Hurricanes Iota and Eta in 2020, were affected by extensive flooding and landslides. More than 24,800 families have been displaced from their homes and are in need of humanitarian assistance. This grant will help distribute food, drinking water, hygiene supplies, and medicines to 1,000 families in the communities of La Lima in Cortés County and Progreso in Baracoa County, both in northern Honduras.


A grant of $17,500 has been given for the second phase of a flood relief program of the Church of the Brethren in Uganda, following heavy rains in early September that caused extensive flooding and a deadly landslide in the western district of Kasese. Needs of the most affected group of 300 households (about 2,400 people) included shelter, replacement of destroyed household items, emergency food, longterm food aid until crops can be replanted and harvested, safe drinking water, and new pit latrines. Many of these families had been affected by previous major flooding in 2020 and 2021. The Ugandan Red Cross provided some initial relief programing, and the Church of the Brethren in Uganda developed a proposal that complements the Red Cross programing. An initial grant of $10,000 was given for this project in October.


A grant of $10,000 supports the landslide and flood relief program of ASIGLEH (the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela), after heavy rains in early October led to extensive flooding and a landslide in the city of Las Tejerias in north central Venezuela. Although there are no ASIGLEH congregations in the area, church leaders have been in communication with local congregations of other denominations that are providing details of the needs. ASIGLEH is supporting affected families regardless of their religious affiliation. The response includes prepared foods, drinking water, clothing, and psycho/social support for three months, with the possibility of additional grant requests.

To give financial support to the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, donate to the Emergency Disaster Fund at www.brethren.org/edf.


Find more Church of the Brethren news:

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]