by Don Remick
Slowly, camera crews have gotten into the islands following the devastation of Irma. There were damaged (and many unlivable) homes and debris everywhere. And the power, in the tropical steam, was still out. One resident voiced a plea wondering if there was anyone beyond their shores who could bring ice to the island. It's an image repeated throughout the Keys as roads reopen so folks can get back in to see the damage to their homes. In another section of Florida, a UCC church, with help from our national UCC Disaster Ministries, is creating and distributing ice along with canned goods and drinking water to their community still plagued by contaminated water and power outages. Our national Disaster Ministry staff is also working from Texas to Florida to the Caribbean to offer aid, assess damage and assist in the coordination of urgent and long-term recovery. You can read more here.
In the meantime, Jose, once a Category 3 hurricane, is making its presence known throughout coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
And on the heels of these storms along comes Maria, yet another unprecedented Category 5, to slam through the Caribbean on its way to the U.S. coastline. Did you know that a Category 5 is not 5 times more powerful than a Category 1 storm? Rather, a Category 5 can have 500 times the devastating impact from wind and water of a Category 1. Many of the areas that are just now being reached by rescue and recovery crews are about to be hit again with winds and rain and storm surge. And they will be voicing a plea to anyone beyond their shores for help.
So, again we point you to the best ways to help.
* Send funds to a trusted agency. Our UCC has the advantage that 100% of your donation will go directly to the survivors of the storms. At this point, it is best to not designate the donations to a specific storm. Rather send them as relief to "2017 Disasters". You can learn more about donating here.
* Our UCC has a flyer giving "12 ways..." to help survivors of disasters. Download it here.
* You and your church can register with our UCC as potential volunteers once the region is ready to receive them, here.
* You can find a wealth of resource information including worship resources and bulletin inserts here.
* And never cease to pray.
One of our MACUCC Disaster Resource and Response Team shared a story from our Commonwealth. It was about a home that had been damaged by a storm that left flooding waters behind. The family was weary and overwhelmed by the work of recovery. In the midst of this, a disaster worker came by with a Cleanup Bucket. The homeowner said that they had the resources they needed to clean up their home. But the kindness and caring that was embodied in that bucket was such a gift of hope and assurance that they were not alone.
Our MACUCC with the support of its Disaster Resource and Response Team has launched a campaign to collect Cleanup Buckets. You can find the most up-to-date instructions and information here:
Thank you for all you're doing for God's people.
Rev. Don Remick
Associate Conference Minister
Disaster Resource and Response Team member
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