Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage along Florida’s southwest coast on Sept. 28 when it made landfall near Fort Myers. More than a week later, first responders are still out searching the hardest hit neighborhoods for survivors. With the death toll over 100, this storm is one of the deadliest in the state’s history. The level of damage has impeded relief and response efforts as volunteers come to help. Shelter and rental cars are scarce in the state, with many volunteers driving over two hours to get to the damage zone each day.
During the week of July 25, a single storm system moved across multiple states causing flash flooding from Missouri to parts of Virginia and West Virginia. The flooding resulted in damaged homes and buildings, loss of life, and whole towns left underwater, especially in the greater St. Louis, Mo., area and a large area of southeastern Kentucky. Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Material Resources program have been responding as possible and requested.
When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August 2021, Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren member Sherri Kimmel worried about the family of a student she’d met through her work at Bucknell University. Her efforts to help that family led her to Church World Service (CWS), one of nine national organizations working with the US government to resettle the 76,000 Afghans lucky enough to reach the United States.
This year, the National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022 Office has partnered with Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction in Pennsylvania to collect certain school supplies to assemble Church World Service (CWS) school kits. The auction already has contributed $20,000 to this project.
Church World Service (CWS) is circulating a faith sign-on letter urging the administration to support Ukrainians and uphold protections for displaced and at-risk populations. The deadline for signatures is Wednesday, March 23.
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed a grant of $15,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to help Church World Service (CWS) distribute relief kits and blankets and give support for unaccompanied minors following the December 2021 tornados.
In two new efforts related to Church World Service (CWS) work for refugees, immigrants, migrants, and most recently Afghan evacuees, the ecumenical humanitarian organization has announced “Together We Welcome: A National Faith Gathering to Strengthen Support for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants” and a new “Welcome Backpack” kit.
A new joint Church of the Brethren and Church World Service (CWS) effort supporting the resettlement of Afghan evacuees in the US has received support from the Mission and Ministry Board and a grant of $52,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF).
Mountville Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District has done a couple of things recently to be “Jesus in the Neighborhood.”
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to Honduras, where relief work continues following last year’s Hurricanes Eta and Iota; to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the Brethren in Goma continue aid to those affected by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo; to India, in support of the COVID-19 response of IMA World Health; and to Northern Plains District, which is helping organize rebuilding following the derecho that left a trail of destruction in Iowa last August.
An additional allocation of $40,000 supports the Church World Service (CWS) rehabilitation program in Honduras for families affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. CWS has longterm partners in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala that provided emergency relief programs and were supported by an initial EDF grant of $10,000. CWS has updated its response plan to include the rehabilitation of livelihoods and housing in Honduras. The goal of the program is to support 70 highly at-risk families in rebuilding their homes and livelihoods.
A grant of $30,000 for the Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) response to the hurricanes was approved concurrently with this grant. All programing will be coordinated by and between CWS and PAG, a long-time partner of Brethren Disaster Ministries. In the past 10 years, support has been given through the shipping of canned meat and EDF grants for PAG’s relief work following various storms. After Hurricane Eta, PAG quickly organized a relief program that included providing 8,500 family food bags for a week of provision, used clothing, mattresses, health kits, blankets, shoes, and family hygiene kits. These items reached 50 communities before Hurricane Iota struck. The relief work has continued after Hurricane Iota, reaching more communities and providing medical aid in more remote regions.