Refugees like Sandra are making the best of a difficult time by caring for others. They made hundreds of face masks while worried about their own problems. The refugees in the program have lost their income and aren’t sure when they’ll return to work, but are committed to helping others in need.
Here are some recent international grants approved by UCC Disaster Ministries:
A pilot program to help communities launch long-term recovery following disasters is growing ecumenically. Over the past two years, the disaster ministries of the United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Church of the Brethren have joined forces to pioneer the Disaster Recovery Support Initiative (DRSI) in nine states and U.S. territories. Now DRSI is folding into the disaster programs of Church World Service (CWS).
Send joyful Christmas greetings and provide your friends and family a practical tool to get prepared for natural disasters at the same time. Disaster Preparedness Christmas Cards from United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries include a complete up-to-date list of what should be included in an individual ‘Go-Bag’ – a bag that is prepared to grab and ‘go’ when a disaster strikes. A faithful reminder to start the year off prepared!
UCC Disaster Ministries just contributed $10,000 toward an ecumenical response through CWS Japan to assist 1,000 families with home and livelihood restoration, volunteer mobilization to clear debris, and capturing of lessons learned for reducing risk in the disasters that are sure to follow as climate change brings more unprecedented destructive weather.
UCC Disaster Ministries has contributed $15,000 to support care for 25 orphaned, abused, neglected or abandoned children evacuated from Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian destroyed the Children’s Home there.
There's a lot you can do right now!
It's a gift that keeps on giving! UCC Disaster Ministries' initial investment of $200,000 has built earthquake-resistant homes for 53 vulnerable families who survived the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. The families are paying back interest-free loans into a revolving fund, already used to build 20 more homes. Now the UCC has just sent an additional $40,000 for yet more homes!
UCC Disaster Ministries and the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico (IEUPR) have completed the restoration of 105 Maria-damaged homes to date, especially the repair of roofs, with the help of 420 volunteers. Immediate goal: restore 45 more roofs wait-listed to be fixed to bring the total to 150. UCC Disaster Ministries will continue to support recovery efforts as long as financial resources allow. Give/volunteer!
$5,000 seed grants from UCC Disaster Ministries will go toward costs for three Hurricane Michael long-term recovery groups in the Florida Panhandle - Liberty (County) Strong, Gadsden (County) Strong and the North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group (Jackson and Calhoun Counties). The UCC also is supporting recovery in Bay and Washington counties, including with recruitment of volunteer work teams.
$15,000 from UCC Disaster Ministries will fund 12 months of resiliency training for an entire village in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, which a year ago (September 28, 2018) suffered a massively destructive earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people and displaced tens of thousands. The goal is to build communities with independent ability to avoid danger, adapt to disaster risks and recover quickly.
On a typical day, Mohammed worked 8 hours making furniture with his father. He has had very little time to worry about his education or spend time with his friends. Even though he enrolled in school -- he rarely attended. The immediate need for money has made it almost impossible for Mohammed to think about going to school. He felt that he could not sacrifice the assistance he was giving his family over the potential long term benefits of education.
Our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support CEOSS and the programs it creates for teens like Mohammed. Our gifts are helping families worldwide imagine a brighter tomorrow while addressing the needs of each day.
Union Memorial Church of Stamford, Connecticut, has been celebrating and sharing Christ's love through participation in the One Great Hour of Sharing offering for 67 years.
Responding to the food and nutritional challenges of families living in extreme poverty is a focus of the One Great Hour of Sharing in its International sustainable development emphasis. Families now have more access to food, and the ability to care for their families.
It is not a coincidence that Lesby lives in the town "El Porvenir" which means the future. She has always been focused on how to improve her future and that of her baby Selby. Life in this municipality is not easy. Almost 40% of its inhabitants live in extreme poverty and 16% of babies and children face chronic malnutrition. However, children in this area live in better conditions than in other border municipalities in the south where almost half of children suffer from chronic diseases, learning disorders, and developmental delays as a result of chronic malnutrition.
Fortunately, Lesby had access to prenatal care at a local clinic, had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and after nine months gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby. Lesby recalls that thanks to the education she received at the clinic she was able to balance her diet with more fruits, vegetables, and meat which greatly benefited Selby.
But what price did she pay for a pregnancy without setbacks that resulted in a healthy and strong baby? Selby's father had to migrate to the United States in search of a better future for his family. Having her partner far away left Lesby with mixed emotions. On the one hand she is grateful for the economic opportunities it entails, but on the other hand, her daughter does not know her father.
The separation of the family has been difficult. Selby's father is one of the approximately 3.2 million Central Americans who live and work in the United States. Thanks to the remittances that Lesby receives month after month from the United States, she was able to access nutritious food during her pregnancy. She also had enough money to participate in a Habitat for Humanity program to build her house, a home where Selby can now play, eat, and sleep in a safe environment.
Thanks to your support, children like Selby have a brighter future. Better health and a safe environment during childhood will have lifelong benefits.
Bread for the World is supported by contributions from One Great Hour of Sharing. And because of our support, Bread for the World has invited interested parties to participate in a conference call with special guest, Dr. Lawrence Haddad, co-winner of the 2018 World Food Prize. The Conference call will take place on Tuesday, March 19, at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. Join us in the fight to end hunger. Call 773-231-9226 and use access code 149 691 3232#.
It's one year after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria struck, and survivors continue to struggle to recover. Today, floodwaters continue to rise in the Carolinas 10 days after Hurricane Florence made landfall. Against this backdrop, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth reflects on the commitment to long-term recovery. "I have faith that God, working through us, can create something new," he writes. "Why? Because I’ve seen it."
It's been a year since Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico. UCC Disaster Ministries has accompanied the survivors from day one, investing nearly $500,000 funding, and another $250,000 in hurricane-damaged Florida and U.S. Virgin Islands. This does not count in-kind contributions, sharing of recovery expertise and work teams volunteering to rebuild homes.
Victor Masdrico is a 17-year-old teenager. He writes, ""I feel very grateful for the support that Caminante has given me. My goal is to finish my studies and become a professional, putting into practice everything I have learned in Caminante. I would like in the future to be able to help vulnerable children so that their rights are guaranteed, just as I was helped."
Lend your voice to help put an end to TB through a letter-writing campaign.
The World Health Organization, like the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) are looking to significantly reduce the number of people living with TB, and need our help.
Safe Centers provide girls with an after school support group that is focused on keeping girls in school and eliminating child marriage, female genital mutilation, and teenage pregnancies. They also discuss topics related to health, hygiene, goal setting, and self-love. The Boys and Girls Club function to empower young people to reach their full potential.
There are still 60 UCC Disaster Ministries Matching Grants available to UCC churches and other UCC groups that raise at least $250 in cash and/or in kind to assemble Church World Service Kits and Clean-Up Buckets.
A UCC congregation in Redding, Calif., is planning a community meal on Tuesday, August 7, for friends and neighbors who have lost their homes and possessions to the wildfires burning in the area. While flames came within a mile of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, the church building, designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was spared. The church family was not. Click here for the full UCC News story.
UCC Disaster Ministries has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for its work to restore 17 low-income rental units in Port Arthur, Texas, that Hurricane Harvey flooded with two feet of water last August.
Severe spring floods in Kenya displaced more than 311,000 people, killing 132 and injuring 23 others according to Kenya’s National Disaster Management Agency. In addition, more than 6,000 livestock were killed, and flood waters submerged more than 9,500 acres of farmland during planting season. Houses, health centers, schools and roads have been damaged or destroyed.
One Great Hour of Sharing supports the Christian Council of Ghana in their program to fight against sexual and gender-based violence among church women and support to women living with HIV. The goal of our support is to assist with the protection of the rights of the vulnerable in these two categories as well as rights for trafficked children and their mothers.
When I was a child, the DCDC helped me build my confidence. Today, as the project coordinator at DCDC, we are helping our participants develop a love for the peace process and work to achieve it, first here and then worldwide.
These women in Brazil are producing a specialty organic coffee, which is helping them improve their lives.
Small holder farming families will have year-round food security with nutrition sufficiency for women and children in three districts in Bihar and Jharkhand, India.
The AIDS 2018 conference will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, July 23-27, 2018. The faith-based response to HIV and AIDS has become more visible and integrated. The United Church of Christ has been a constant advocate of the faith community working to help reduce and now eliminate new HIV infections, deaths, and discrimination.
Fourteen communities, 626 households, and 3,130 individuals have been supported by the Honduras Nueva Frontera organization, led by Church World Service and Local Partner Comisión de Acción Social Menonita. These are Foods Resources Bank projects that helps ensure people have good and nutritious food to eat. These are your One Great Hour of Sharing dollars at work in the world.
In many parts of the world, clean safe drinking water is a luxury. Without clean water, many people become sick by drinking and using contaminated water. The water shortage can be the result of drought, flood, pollution, or other catastrophes.
Anely Latalladi Ortega thought her home was safe before Hurricane Maria left flood waters that devastated her home and community. Before Maria, "where I lived was not in a flood zone. It had never flooded. I felt fortunate. My worry in those early days was for others who weren’t as lucky", she shared. "I applied for a job with FEMA and started working the week before Thanksgiving. This job has given me a great sense of satisfaction because I can use my skills and experience to contribute in the recovery of my beloved Puerto Rico."
Mr. Wondimu Yunka lives with his family in the village of Lela Honcho, located a few kilometers from the town of Chuko, Ethiopia. Through participation in a sustainable agricultural program, he has learned many techniques that have increased the success of his farm, and with other farmers in his community. The 4 simple techniques are simple and have had proven results.
Moms in Nicaragua are learning the importance of nutrition in the lives of their babies. According to the Nicaragua Río Coco program, the first 1,000 days of babies’ lives are the most critical for the healthy development of their bodies and minds. Understanding the nutritional importance of breastfeeding, when and how to start a baby on solid food, and what to do if a child is malnourished are key factors in improving the health of the mother, child and the entire family.
A UCC Disaster Ministries solidarity grant is helping international students at the Kanana Fou Theological Seminary in American Samoa replace essential school supplies and basic furnishings they lost to wind and water damage from powerful Cyclone Gita in February.
In partnership with the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico, UCC Disaster Ministries is helping people on that hurricane-battered island to build back better and for the long term through development of a Social Action and Emergency Action ministry and deployment of volunteer work teams, being recruited now for deployment beginning June 1.
Ever since severe floods in 2016 washed away their small bridge across the creek in front of their home, an older West Virginia couple used an extension ladder to get out to the grocery store and doctor’s office. Today, the couple can cross the creek safely on a simple, sturdy new bridge – the 50th completed in West Virginia in just over two years in an innovative project of the United Church of Christ and other members of W. Va. Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
In India like in most places, people infected with HIV suffer from stigmatization and isolation. Successfully building a micro business system there had potential to transform lives. In partnership with the Positive Women Network and ECLOF, two workshops were conducted in India on entrepreneurship and business management for HIV-affected women. One of the best outcomes of the meeting was the 55 participants found a place in their community that provides support to them and their families.
Yaribel Davila had to evacuate her apartment in Port Arthur, Texas, last August when flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey came in up to her knees. UCC Disaster Ministries is partnering with the Southeast Texas Community Development Corporation (SET CDC) to restore her apartment and 16 others that suffered similar damage. The UCC’s Amanda Sheldon interviewed Ms. Davila.
In the six months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, UCC Disaster Ministries has been providing critical supplies and helping Puerto Ricans develop a long-term strategic plan for recovery. Soon, volunteer work teams will be deployed.
In a rural community in Cambodia, the only water available had been from a shallow, hand-dug well. Each day during the rainy season, a grandmother named Som Bee would walk to the well to collect the water for her family. Today they are healthier because you helped provide access to clean water.
Gather your disaster recovery volunteer mission group to give a week of service in Puerto Rico. Sign up now to receive an email notification when registration opens in April. Beginning June 2018, groups serve in Puerto Rico for one-week periods.
UCC Disaster Ministries is celebrating the fulfillment of its promise of $200,000 for construction of new, permanent, earthquake-resistant homes in Nepal. The UCC’s last installment of $50,000 was sent recently. Thanks to careful stewardship, the funds will complete more than 50 homes for some of the most vulnerable survivors of the two powerful earthquakes in 2015 that left nearly 9,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
As a small community more than 1,000 miles from the contiguous United States, with at least 40 percent of the population at or below the poverty line, the U.S. Virgin Islands are facing significant recovery challenges following last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A $212,000 grant from the Fund for the Virgin Islands (FFVI) through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands will support faster, better long-term recovery.
“ACT members are rooted in the communities that they serve. They see first-hand how women have been victims of many layers of marginalization based on their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, health, socioeconomic status etc.,” says Emilie Weiderud, Co-chair of the ACT Alliance Gender Equality and Justice Community of Practice.
Volunteers at UCC Disaster Ministries' new work site in Port Arthur, Texas, are helping restore Hurricane Harvey-devastated homes for 17 low- to moderate-income renters. As they help bring individuals and families to sustainability, their hearts are being touched by the community's enormous challenges, rich history and deep Christian faith.
When Hurricane Harvey flooded 17 of 19 affordable housing units managed by the Southeast Texas Community Development Corporation (SETCDC) in Port Arthur, Texas, tenants fled and stopped paying rent. Three displaced tenants were in really bad situations and urgently needed to get back home. SETCDC managed to rehabilitate those properties, depleting its reserve. But until UCC Disaster Ministries offered support, they didn’t know where they would get the resources to rehab the remaining 14 units.
Children are receiving assistance from a local Association to help combat poverty, and limited access to educational opportunities in Laos