Northwest Ohio Tornado: St. Peter’s in Millbury Provides Relief for the Community
June 11, 2010
On Saturday, June 5 a series of storms in Northwest Ohio produced a tornado that severely impacted communities near Toledo. The United Church of Christ churches and families had no damage to facilities or homes.
Kathryn Helleman of St. Peter's UCC is spearheading our relief efforts in the community. Following is part of a letter sent by Kathryn to members of St. Peter's:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As I write this we are now roughly 48 hours from the time of the tornado that impacted Millbury and surrounding regions. We are currently serving as the host site for Red Cross services and having been providing some coordination for volunteers. One of our principal roles currently is hosting meals in the evening and serving sack lunches, water and snacks for volunteers. (These food items are coming to us from the Red Cross and by donation). As in all situations of this nature our role is continuing to unfold. We have been partnering in Walbridge regarding physical supplies such as clothing and food. Sisters and brothers from Zion Latcha Lutheran, Lakewood Brethren, and other individuals from the community have been assisting with meal serving and preparation.
As the task continues to shift I believe we will need volunteers at the church to help with meal serving. It is possible that meal preparation will shift to a sack lunch only mode by the end of the week but that is not yet determined. We will also need assistance at St Peter's when we are no longer a "command center" to carry out clean up of the facility and grounds.
Also shared here is current information from Jim Ditzler and George Siddall, UCC Ohio Conference Disaster Response Coordinators. Jim writes:
I spent much of yesterday touring Millbury area and meeting with St. Peter's Kathryn Helleman and husband, Arnie. The tornado struck Millbury, a small town of about 1000, last Saturday night. The path of the tornado seemed to leap over the church with damage on both sides. There was no damage to the church and no families of the congregation sustained loss. Because this small church, worshipping congregation of about 80, was open right after the tornado struck it became the center of volunteer operations, especially when ARC came by and decided to set up shop there. Since last Sunday it has been serving lunch and dinners for volunteers with volunteer help. The church has received countless donations from the public, and offers many personal items under a canopy set up outside and staffed by church volunteers. Local police do traffic control in front of the church. Earlier this week even the governor stopped by.
You'd be proud of Kathryn and how she represents the UCC. In addition to her church position she also teaches at the Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay. The latter has allowed her all the time she needs to deal with present issues. She is the CEO of the various volunteer related activities from directing SUV's to work sites, to scheduling kitchen workers, to receiving and denying donated stuff, coordinating numerous other activities, and e-mailing daily reports.
George Siddall and Jim Ditzler will be assisting with setting up Long Term Recovery Committees in Wood and Fulton Counties. These committees will look to serve people with unmet needs; i.e. no insurance or underinsured. The UCC will participate ecumenically in the long term recovery.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by tornadoes.
2. To help those affected by disasters you may, send gifts payable to your congregation marked for OGHS special fund Emergency USA with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
3. Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion OGHS special fund Emergency USA to UCC Financial Services; Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.