Again in 2020, UCC congregations assembling Church World Service Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other CWS Kits may apply for UCC Matching Grants of up to $250 from UCC Disaster Ministries. Deadline: December 31, 2020.
Members of the denomination can assist hurricane and other disaster relief efforts by pre-assembling these supplies that are warehoused by CWS, ready to be shipped at a moment's notice when the need arises.
Matthew Stevens, CWS Director of Congregational Giving, said there especially is need right now for CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.
"Our CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are low in stock," he said. "In fact we want to have 10,000 in stock before spring storm season starts, and we are short 3,000 buckets. The buckets are the TOP priority as of now.
"We are also running short on CWS School Kits. Before we know it, kids will be going back to school and we will want to be fully stocked."
UCC Disaster Ministries will consider Matching Grant applications for other kinds of CWS Kits, such as CWS Hygiene Kits, but is giving priority to groups assembling CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.
For families facing the muck and ruin that a disaster has caused to their homes, CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are more than just relief supplies, they are an expression of love and symbol of hope for the future
2020 marks the sixth year UCC Disaster Ministries has offered the matching grants. In 2019, 67 congregations received grants. The ministry will continue to fund participating and qualifying congregations up to $250 per congregation on a first-come, first-served basis to congregations that raise $250 in cash and in-kind gifts for CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.
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BUCKET RECIPIENT, PARTNER TESTIFY TO THE NEED
Celesta Bridgeforth of Athens, Ala., remembered the grief of losing her home to a tornado in 2011.
"We received a CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket at that time,” she said. "It wasn't a million bucks but it was nice, convenient and timely and sure did help when I'd lost almost everything and didn't know what was going on.”
When residents of Lumberton and Warsaw, N.C., were affected by severe flooding, the need for cleanup buckets was substantial. The UCC ordered 1,000 CWS buckets for the Red Cross. Those supplies helped families clean out their homes enough to assess the damage, muck out and tear out ruined drywall.
CeCe Williams, a Red Cross warehouse manager, said, "It was a crucial stage in their recovery from the flood. We are so grateful to our partners who supported our communities. Without them, we would not have been able to help the great number of people in need."