The United Church of Christ is reaching out to partners in the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane Sandy there, while also bracing to respond to the storm's expected catastrophic destruction yet to come in the U.S. from North Carolina to Maine and inward as far as Wisconsin. So far, Hurricane Sandy is known to have killed 65 people in the Caribbean ~ 51 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba, and 1 each in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. Communications systems remain unreliable in the region, and there are widespread power outages.
Hurricane Sandy will "officially" make landfall sometime today probably in Central New Jersey. This storm is over 800 miles wide with wind and rainfall spreading across the much of the Eastern seaboard from North Carolina to Maine. Hurricane Sandy is projected to move inland toward the Great Lakes and may impact States as far away from the coast as Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Florence Coppola, UCC Executive for National Disaster Ministries, is monitoring the storm and is in contact with the UCC Disaster Response Coordinators Network. Coordinators and Conference Staff are reaching out to local churches sharing information about shelters for evacuees; and other information that may be helpful to survival. As Hurricane Sandy passes through and information is available about UCC members and church facilities, it will be posted to the UCC website and OGHS Facebook page.
There will be a lot of needs as a result of this storm, which meteorologists have referred to as "near historic" in size. Sandy's tropical-storm-force winds extend some 520 miles from its center, and its storm surge is predicted to reach nearly unprecedented levels.
"The most important way you may help at this time is to pray and make a donation," says Ms. Coppola.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
1. Pray for the people and communities across the Caribbean and United States impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
2. To assist people impacted by this disaster, please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for "Hurricane Sandy Response" with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
Send gifts, made out to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion "Hurricane Sandy Response" to United Church of Christ; Financial Services; 700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH 44115.
Make a secure online donation to the Hurricane Sandy Response fund.
Thank you for your compassion and support.