As Tropical Storm Debby inundates Florida with rain, wind and tornadoes, the UCC Florida Conference Team is at work sharing information and gathering much needed materials. Reports are now for at least 17 inches of rain in some areas, and coastal flooding. 49,000 people are without electricity. The following is a message from Bill Wealand, UCC Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinator:
Greetings. Tropical Storm Debby is the first significant disaster to threaten the south this season. The state of Emergency Management report indicates that Florida will receive several additional days of rain. The probability of additional flooding is high. Some additional tornado activity is possible. It is much to early to formulate our long term recovery plans at this point but some immediate response has been conducted.
A tornado passed through the Pass-A-Grill Beach area, just south of our UCC Church there, and damaged about 25 - 30 houses according to Keith Haemmelmann, the Pastor of the church. Jim Rapp, the Disaster Ministry Coordinator for Highlands County and for the Pass-A-Grill Beach Church, is arranging for the transportation of 30 hygiene kits to the church. The church is being used as a shelter and the pastor requested the kits to give to those who are coming there.
It is probable that cleanup bucket kits will be needed in the next several days. Please inventory the churches you believe to be creating cleanup bucket kits so we know what we have. We can, and probably will, request additional buckets from Church World Service.
This is an opportune moment to contact your churches and encourage them to:
- Start or intensify the creation of kits, especially cleanup buckets and hygiene kits
- Ask those churches in the declared counties if they have immediate needs
- Ask the same churches to contact their county long term recovery committees and determine if volunteer work groups will be needed and if so, when, where and how many.
Please note there will be a great need for cleanup buckets and personal care kits. Church World Service will be sending material goods in the form of cleanup buckets and personal care kits. Please keep all impacted and those who respond in your prayers.
How you may help
1. Pray for the people and communities impacted by severe storms and those serving as first responder emergency personnel.
2. Make a gift payable to your congregation marked for Emergency USA fund, with the request they be sent through your Conference Office on to United Church of Christ, Financial Services, 700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH 44115
3. Send gifts, payable to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion Emergency USA fund, then mail to United Church of Christ, Financial Services, 700 Prospect Avenue E, Cleveland, OH 44115.
4. Make a secure on-line donation. Donate Now.