South Central Conference Disaster Ministry News – New Orleans September Update

September 17, 2007

Disaster Response Update - September

Disaster Ministry Staff

Pictured l-r: Tim Fonderlin, construction supervisor, Dale Bonds, Administrative Assistant, Rev. Alan Coe, Minister for Disaster Recovery, Garrett & Elaine Cavanaugh, Partners in Service Volunteers and Sarah McAllister, Volunteer Coordinator.


The staff of the South Central Conference Disaster Ministry has taken on a sense of permanence.  For the first year or so of this ministry Rev. Alan Coe, pictured front center, served as the only paid staff in New Orleans beginning shortly after Katrina.  In January of 2007 Sarah McAllister far right began as full time Volunteer Coordinator.  Tim Fonderlin began work in June of 2007 as Construction Supervisor.  Tim is a Christian Church Disciples of Christ member.  His wife Diane is an ordained minister with the Disciples.  For the last eight years they have served as missionaries in Southeast Asia working with Habitat for Humanity.  For the last two years Tim worked in the tsunami recovery efforts.   

Partners in Service volunteers have continually supplied assistance in this ministry for varying lengths of time.  Recently added as Partners in Service volunteers are Dale Bonds, second from left.  Dale serves as our Administrative Assistant and is a member of Central Congregational UCC in New Orleans.  Dale and her husband Jim reside in New Orleans east and had several feet of water in

their home.  Their home happened to be one of the first cleaned out by this ministry.  They were able to move back into their home in September of 2006.

Elaine & Garrett Cavanaugh are the most recent Partners in Service Volunteers to join the ministry.  They will serve for fourteen months.  They are from Townsend, MA.  Both have degrees in engineering.  Prior to arriving in New Orleans, Elaine was serving as a church secretary while attending Andover-Newton Theological School.  Garrett was working for Sun Microsystems. 



Ways You May Assist


Pray Please pray for this ministry, the people we serve, the volunteers who arrive each week, the city of New Orleans and the region.


Work groupsAs rebuilding continues, skilled groups are needed any time of the year. 

One person in eight should be able to lead a crew and be skilled in home rehabilitation and rebuilding.  Please see for more information and an online application.


Gift Cards - to Home Depot or Lowe’s to be used for supplies and equipment as needed.  We also allow crew leaders of volunteer groups to use these for small purchases as they work.


Donate Funds – Donations may be made payable to: “South Central Conference Disaster Ministry Fund” and sent to the address below.

Taking a well deserved break!




Help from the Dominican Republic


God is SO good!  And I am SO grateful!


Today a group of young men from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, who are a musical band here to perform in N.O., came to MY house to do mission work! They completed the priming up at the high spots and also began to replace some of my bad weather boards. These were things last week's group of ladies were not able to do, due to time constraints. 


Their labor alone is a blessing, as was the group from the Buffalo area. But get this.....the weather boards were salvaged from my church's mission center that was recently demolished by Mercy Corps. They salvaged as much weather boards, studs, and bricks as possible. So added to the

history of my 100+ year old structure is that piece of boards salvaged from MY own church structure!

Now my exterior looks great and the men are going to begin to paint tomorrow... Fred and I are going to buy the paint this evening. But there are NO signs of the devastation on my exterior! NO constant reminders of all I lost. PRAISE HIM!

Can you imagine how much these two groups have saved me?!

I am so overwhelmed by God's favor in my being selected to be helped!

And to experience the spirit of the volunteers here doing mission work is awesome! I have been blessed immeasurably!

The exterior of my house shows NO sign at all of having been affected by the disaster. Now I can focus on the interior which is still just gutted. BUT I just felt compelled to share how God has blessed me with so many willing and able bodied volunteers to help me and many others, to make steps toward restoration and rebuilding! It is an overwhelming and Herculean task, but the love of the volunteers from all over the place has truly blessed me. The estimates I had gotten for exterior alone had me weak and befuddled! Thanks be to God for the volunteers!

This restoration involves things we never think of.....buying all over again, toilet, tub, sink, vanity, cabinets, water heater, not to mention appliances, light fixtures, faucets, etc. Then there is total rewiring, re-doing sewer and plumbing completely, insulation, drywall, etc. Y'all these wonderful people have just blessed me so much I had to share with my brothers and sisters in Christ!  My faith, the United Church of Christ, is really helping to make things less difficult for people like me who felt doomed by a sense of hopelessness and felt that the world had forgotten. BUT PEOPLE CARE! PEOPLE HELP! The agencies, oh well! UCC coordinates the volunteers, who by the way, spend their own money to fly here and rent vehicles and work for a full week ...taking time from their jobs and families etc. GOD IS GOOD!

Thanks for allowing me to share. God bless you!

Ingrid Hearns – member of Beecher Memorial UCC


(The Maranatha Band from the Dominican Republic stopped in New Orleans on their way from New England to California.  They spent two days working with this ministry.  Rev. Alan Coe has traveled to the Dominican Republic several times to work with the church there, the Haitian Mission Baptist Church.  The main mission in the Dominican Republic is to build the Good Samaritan General Hospital.  For more information concerning this mission please log onto




South Central Conference Disaster Ministry Office is located at: Little Farms UCC
135 Sauve Rd. River Ridge, LA 70123.  Phone: 504-258-7306.  Email:
Rev. Alan Coe, Minister for Disaster Recovery


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