August 3, 2007
Volunteers arriving at the reception center in Independence are issued protective suits and respirators to protect them from contaminants and mold while mucking out homes. (Homes in Coffeyville damaged by the 72,000-gallon oil spill are contaminated and off limits to residents).
Homes damaged by flood waters in late June and early July in Southeastern Kansas are now filled with mold – the heat and humidity of this summer have created an environment where mold thrives. Residents and volunteers seeking to clean out homes are exposed to this health hazard every day.
Supply of protective gear is donated and, thus, limited. Protective gear is available to survivors as well, for those who wish to re-enter dwellings to search for anything salvageable, such as family mementos. Yet it is difficult for those experiencing such dynamic losses, such as whole homes and automobiles, to travel 15 miles to Independence to secure protective clothing. While damage is focused in Montgomery County, community groups will reach out to surrounding areas (such as Fredonia, Kansas) that endured damage and will also need gear for safe cleanup.
The United Church of Christ and Church World Service, together with the forming Montgomery County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (name to be determined), Americorps, the City of Coffeyville, the Coffeyville Ministerial Alliance, the Community Access Center (in Independence) will supply safety equipment packets throughout Montgomery County. In Coffeyville, availability of protective suits will eliminate the challenging trip to Independence. The gear will be distributed with easy-to-understand instructions for usage and information about why protection is important.
Each safety packet includes one each of: Protective suit, Tyvek© ; goggles; N 95 respirator masks; gloves; hat; and a Fact Sheet on Health and Safety in working around mold.
The United Church of Christ, National Disaster Ministries is seeking $50,000 to assist with the immediate need for safety packets and for the long term recovery (repairing and rebuilding of homes) from floods in Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by floods.
2. To help those affected by disasters you may, send gifts payable to your congregation marked for "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 "Emergency USA" to the Office for Global Sharing of Resources; Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
4. Make a secure on-line donation.