By Carolyn Neher
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has deployed another team to Hawaii in partnership with the Red Cross. The volunteers traveled to Maui on Sept. 4-5. Children’s Disaster Services will continue to serve at the Family Assistance Center located at a hotel on the island. This team is scheduled to serve through Sept. 25.
Displaced families and those who have lost loved ones continue to receive services in Lahaina area. From information provided by the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), there are 4,800 residents in non-congregate shelters as of this past weekend.
The CDS volunteers are serving children in an activities center, offering a calm presence and caring attitudes. They arrived with two of CDS’ trademark “Kit of Comfort” suitcases containing carefully selected toys that promote child-led imaginative play. The CDS volunteers are specially trained to encourage children to express themselves, thereby starting the process of healing following the trauma of disaster and its aftermath.
In addition to the response in Hawaii, CDS also recently responded to a home explosion and a tornado:
CDS volunteers provided childcare at a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Pittsburgh, Pa., following a home explosion in the nearby suburb of Plum. Six people died, several others were injured, and neighboring homes caught fire in the Aug. 13 explosion. A team of four CDS volunteers served on the Aug. 24 MARC.
Earlier in August, a team of two CDS volunteers responded in a MARC set up in a Baring, Mo., community center, where an EF2 tornado touched down on Aug. 4. The storm damaged buildings and transformers, and downed electrical poles. In a town of just 125 residents, 14 people needed to be rescued from their homes. The CDS volunteers worked in the MARC on Aug. 9.
— Carolyn Neher is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services. Find out more about CDS, and how to become a volunteer through attending a training workshop, at www.brethren.org/cds. Give financial support to this response at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/cds.
CDS volunteers provide care for children in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of CDS)
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