United Church of Christ

UCC Response to 2017 Hurricanes



Here is an outline of UCC Disaster Ministries' support of recovery following the destructive series of hurricanes - Harvey, Irma and Maria - that raked the Caribbean and U.S. mainland this summer. UCC conferences, conference disaster coordinators, congregations and agencies also are active in the response to these disasters.

Hurricane Harvey

  • Hired Amariee Collins and the Rev. Joshua Lawrence of Houston, Texas, on 9/25/2017 to coordinate the denomination's Hurricane Harvey recovery work over the next two years.
  • One UCC congregation in Texas had flood damage and is receiving support.
  • $2,000 solidarity/emergency grant was given to St. Paul UCC in Corpus Christi, TX for emergency food distribution in nearby Port Aransas.
  • Coordinated the shipment of 260 cleanup buckets for Port Aransas, Texas.
  • Training and support provided by national staff for local UCC pastors resourcing their communities with information on how to access available assistance through the Red Cross, local, state, and national sources.
  • Long-term recovery plans are being created and launched.
  • Identified and established volunteer opportunities for mucking and gutting Harvey-impacted homes.
  • Granted $10,000 to ECHOS in Houston for case management services for Harvey survivors in a community that includes many refugees and immigrants.
  • Will open a worksite in Port Arthur, Texas, in February 2018. Volunteers will help rebuild housing in Port Arthur and Beaumont during the next one to two years.
  • Deployed UCC Penn Central Conference Disaster Coordinators Bill and Ellen Matten to Port Arthur, Texas, to serve as Partners in Service long-term volunteers in February 2018, working with the UCC in Beaumont and Port Arthur who are preparing these two locations to receive both long- and short-term volunteers.
  • Granted $10,000 to the Southeast Texas Community Development Corporation to be used to get volunteer housing ready for Port Arthur/Beaumont volunteers.
  • Granted $35,000 to the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders to fund a volunteer coordinator for the Upper Galveston Bay region, southeast of Houston, Texas.

Click here for volunteer opportunities

More Hurricane Harvey Information

Hurricane Irma

  • At least 2 UCC congregations in Florida lost steeples in Hurricane Irma and are receiving support.
  • $1,500 solidarity/emergency grant to the Miami Shores Community Church, UCC which is supporting the purchase of a generator, fuel, gas stoves for community cooking, and purchasing and distributing ice.
  • $10,000 for prevention of cholera and malnutrition in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and to treat any instances that occur.
  • $10,000 for distribution in Cuba of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene products and programs), temporary shelter, non-food emergency items like blankets or medicine, help around food security (damaged crops), recovery/livelihoods, and psycho-social support.
  • $10,000 for Northern Haiti where homes that were weakened by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 have now sustained additional damage.
  • A $3,000 solidarity grant for the Naples, Fla., United Church of Christ to assist with expenses related to the nursery school.
  • UCC Disaster Ministries identified and established volunteer opportunities for repairing Irma-affected homes.
  • Granted $100,000 to Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disasters to support support VIND's work to help repair/rebuild homes damaged by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, including hiring of a construction supervisor. David Heald, Northern Regional Disaster Coordinator for the UCC's Florida Conference, serves as VIND's operations manager.

Click here for volunteer opportunities

Hurricane Maria

  • $10,000 to provide first aid kits, electric generators, drinking water, water filters, non-perishable food, and battery-powered radios in 20 communities and over 5,000 persons in Puerto Rico
  • $5,000 for basic household goods and appliances for 78 families in the batyes or Dominico-Haitian communities in the Dominican Republic, which families lost in the floods that followed the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria
  • $6,000 to the UCC Pennsylvania Southeast Conference for a program of assistance to people displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. Hundreds of people - some of them with few or no resources and many unmet needs - have made their way to Philadelphia, which has the second largest population on the mainland of people of Puerto Rican descent. Penn Southeast Conference Disaster Coordinator Karl Jones has been deployed to lead the UCC's response.
  • $8,000 for 500 Sawyer 0.1 micron water filters for the U.S. Virgin Islands. These exceptionally durable and long-lasting filters each produce one million gallons of clean drinking water over its lifetime. They will alleviate the need for people to boil water, saves shipping of more than two million tons of water, and will end the distribution logistics headaches involved in transporting large amounts of water. And they will reduce the pile-up of nearly 3.8 billion half-liter plastic water bottles in landfills in the islands.
  • The following have been shipped to Puerto Rico: 5,000 Hygiene Kits, 500 tarps and 1,550 water filters (550 from UCC Disaster Ministries and 1,000 in a joint shipment with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Church World Service.
  • $3,000 for a project in Toa Baja to build resilience in the face of climate change. The project of the Alliance for Sustainable Resources Management addresses the collapse of electrical, water, communication and debris removal systems with training and such equipment as a photovoltaic system, ice plant, rain harvest system, local communications system and cutting and clearing equipment.
  • $12,500 for repair of student housing; replacement of computers and classroom furniture, maintenance of the library's digital catalog, and telecommunications restoration at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico.

More Hurricane Irma and Maria Information

More About UCC Disaster Ministries' Response in Puerto Rico

All Three Hurricanes

  • $10,000 for relief and long-term hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, including shipment of supplies specifically requested by partners (including tarps and Church World Service Hygiene Kits, Emergency Cleanup Buckets, School Kits and Blankets) and assessment of ongoing and long-term recovery needs and coordination with partners of long-term recovery efforts.
  • Provided 900 Sawyer 0.1 micron water filters for the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, for distribution by the ecumenical Disaster Recovery Support Initiative.  These exceptionally durable and long-lasting filters each produce one million gallons of clean drinking water over its lifetime. They alleviate the need for people to boil water, saves shipping of millions of tons of water, and relieve the distribution logistics headaches involved in transporting large amounts of water. And they will reduce the pile-up of literally billions of half-liter plastic water bottles in landfills in the islands.
  • UCC Disaster Ministries is part of the ecumenical Disaster Recovery Support Initiative in the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with the disaster ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Church of the Brethren. A February 2018 grant of $212,000 from the Fund for the Virgin Islands (FFVI) through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands will support faster, better long-term recovery on one of the USVI’s two most populous islands, St. Thomas, thousands of whose 50,000-plus residents are still struggling to recover. An additional $375,000 total has been contributed by Brethren Disaster Ministries ($75,000), UCC Disaster Ministries ($125,000), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ($125,000) and Church World Service ($50,000). 

March 19, 2018 - $212,000 grant received to aid hurricane recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Dec. 12, 2017 - $12,000 on Giving Tuesday means 600 more water filters for Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Nov. 16, 2017, UCC News - Retirement Housing Foundation matching gift program makes $106,652.93 gift to hurricane recovery

Nov. 9, 2017 - Post-Maria, filters mean 500 million gallons of clean water in U.S. Virgin Islands

Click here for a collection of stories about UCC congregations affected by, extending help after recent hurricanes