First response - Urgent need
Immediately after Hurricane Katrina there was a great outpouring of support and compassion to assist the people in the affected region of southeast Louisiana and Mississippi. People and funds began to come to the area. Everyone reading this watched national news coverage of the events unfold around New Orleans immediately after Katrina. Everyone reading this also felt the need to help in some way but wasn't sure how. First responders act immediately on those feelings and have specific tasks as first responders. The United Church of
Christ is not a first responder agency. The UCC waits until it is safe to enter a disaster area, works with its ecumenical partners and local population to determine the primary needs and then works together in the long term to meet those needs. This ministry was created for that purpose in New Orleans.
For the past two years groups have come to clean out homes and do hands-on work to assist people returning to their homes by helping them rebuild. Shortly after the storm the basic needs of food and water were met. The basic need of safe secure housing is what this and other denominations are working to provide for residents. Without the primary need of safe secure housing being met, it is difficult to move on in life.
"Hazards always arise from the interplay of social and biological and physical systems: disasters are generated as much or more by human actions as by physical events. The present form of government intervention in both traditional and industrial societies often exacerbates the social disruptions from extreme events. If we go on with the present public policy emphasis in many regions upon technical and narrow adjustments, society will become still less resilient and still more susceptible to catastrophes like the Sahelian drought."
Gilbert White 1978– in Natural Hazards Observer, Oct. 2007
Speaking engagements - Rev. Alan Coe, Minister for Disaster Recovery is available to speak at churches, association and conference meetings about the work and ministry of the South Central Conference Disaster Ministry of the United Church of Christ. To invite Rev. Coe or schedule speaking engagements please email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 830-832-2222.
Measure twice, cut once!
Clocking in from the four corners and beyond
As of October 17, 2007 the South Central Conference Disaster Ministry has hosted 231 groups with 2473 people. The groups have come from 36 states and 5 foreign countries to work in disaster relief. They have logged 62,059 hours of work valued at $1,117,062! What a great blessing to the people of New Orleans.
Please recall those feelings in your heart when you watched the flooding of New Orleans a little over two years ago. Recall the sense of urgency to come and help. The need for assistance from caring and compassionate Christians is just as great now as it was right after Katrina. Rebuilding the once flooded homes is the goal of this ministry. Each week, this ministry coordinates several work sites. The task of rebuilding will be ongoing for several years. If you are reading this and thinking that New Orleans is all put back together, that is a misconception. It will take several years before the city is back to vibrant neighborhoods and a sense of normalcy. If you have been here before, thank you for your work. You are invited to return and always welcome. Bring the same people or invite others along.
If you have not been here since Katrina, a special invitation is extended to you. Act on the stirrings in your heart and use the gifts and talents you have in this hands-on ministry. This office is asking you to remember those first feelings of compassion and desire to help the people of New Orleans. Recall that sense of urgency to come to this area and do whatever you could.
That is where this ministry is today, in need of compassionate, caring people. It would be a special blessing if people with construction experience are compelled to come and work. Those talents are urgently needed for the rebuilding and renewing of New Orleans.
Weapons of Mass Construction – Or WMC's are being used by faith based and non-profit groups everyday in the Katrina affected region of southeast Louisiana. These weapons include but are not limited to: hammers, drywall squares, paintbrushes, saws, staple guns, utility knives, ladders and scaffolding. You have he opportunity to use these weapons in the New Orleans area yourself. Register online to come and help rebuild New Orleans through this ministry.
For those who would like some training in the proper use of some of these weapons prior to arriving in New Orleans, you may ask your local Home Depot or Lowe's to put on a class for you. If you tell them you are going to New Orleans to help rebuild, they will be glad to instruct you.
Ways You May Assist
Pray – Please pray for this ministry, the people we serve, the volunteers who arrive each week to work and the city of New Orleans.
Work trips – As rebuilding continues, skilled people and groups are needed any time of the year. Don't forget, everyone can do something.
One person in Eight (1-8) should be able to lead a crew and be skilled in home rehabilitation and rebuilding. Skills needed from amateur to professional all general home rehabilitation trades . These skills are absolutely necessary in order to rebuild a home to quality standards, like it was our own! To register go to: ucc.org/volunteer/hurricane
Gift Cards - to Home Depot or Lowe's are 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 of funds are payable to: "South Central Conference Disaster Ministry Fund" and sent to the address below.