From the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff
Three Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers served April 12-13 at a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Marble Hill, Mo., caring for children affected by a strong tornado that hit Bollinger County (southeastern Missouri) in the early hours of April 5.
The MARC was organized by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). A MARC provides a “one-stop” location where disaster survivors seek many different services and apply for assistance from multiple agencies and organizations.
The Red Cross asked CDS to provide a childcare center where children could play and work through their own feelings while their parents/guardians looked for resources and support to recover from the disaster. Imagine how comforting it is to know your children are in a safe place and being cared for while you deal with the complications that come after such an event! The volunteers had a total of 14 child contacts over the 2 days.
The tornado that hit Missouri was part of a larger storm system that also produced tornadoes in Illinois and Iowa. The EF2 tornado in Bollinger County touched down at 3:30 a.m. and spent about 15 minutes on the ground following an estimated 15-20 mile path through and around the small rural towns of Glen Allen and Grassy. At least five people were killed and five were injured. There are reports of at least 87 structures being damaged, including 12 that were completely destroyed. Storm events like this that occur in the middle of the night are particularly dangerous as people may not hear alerts while they are sleeping and often don’t have time to seek a safe place to shelter.
Please pray… For all those involved in the work of Children’s Disaster Services, staff and volunteers, and for the children and families they serve.
While CDS typically deploys volunteers for two weeks at a time, this is actually CDS’s second deployment in 2023 involving a short deployment. In March, two CDS volunteers served one day at a MARC in Monroeville, Pa., and cared for five children whose families were displaced due to a large apartment fire. Children’s Disaster Services is very thankful for volunteers who make themselves available, often with very little notice, to care for the youngest disaster survivors.
CDS is always looking for new volunteers. Those interested in learning more about CDS and attending a training workshop can visit www.brethren.org/cds. Three workshops have been held so far this spring (two this weekend) and one more is scheduled for April 28-29 in Portland, Ore. The registration for the Portland training is still open at www.brethren.org/cds/training/dates. For additional information, please contact CDS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-451-4407.
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