At least 134 people are dead - including eight rescuers and one other member of the United Church of Christ Philippines - with more injured or missing and feared buried in a landslide in the Philippines due to Typhoon Mangkhut (local name Ompong). UCC Disaster Ministries is contributing an initial $12,000 for the United Church of Christ Philippines' response to the needs of families and communities in Luzon impacted by the typhoon.Read more
As an extremely dangerous Hurricane Florence churns its way toward the east coast of the United States, UCC Disaster Ministries is monitoring the situation through established networks and stands ready to support Church partners, Conferences and Congregations in Florence's path. Florence is putting millions of people at risk and threaten billions of dollars in property damage.Read more
With Puerto Rico still struggling to recover one year following Hurricane Maria, UCC Disaster Ministries is actively supporting our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and calls on churches "to continue to pray and give financially for what will be a long road ahead," says Zach Wolgemuth, the program's executive.Read more
Where do your donations to UCC Disaster Ministries go? Read about release of funds in June, July and August.Read more
A contingent of almost a dozen UCC volunteers — teenager to retirees — went to Puerto Rico the first week of August to help get a number of homes under roof. They were one of the first UCC volunteer teams donating time and talents to the people of the island nation in a recovery mission that will span years. And UCC Disaster Ministries is in it for the long haul.Read more
Hurricane Lane brought torrential rains to the islands of Hawai’i. UCC Disaster Ministries has been keeping watch on the storm and its aftermath. UCC News prepared this update Friday, August 24, as local churches and congregants took shelter and immense amounts of water and wind were causing flash floods, landslides, and bringing down trees.Read more
As the Texas Gulf Coast prepares to mark the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, one of the most costly storms in U.S. history, the UCC Disaster Ministries' team and partners in the area are preparing for a busy fall season of rebuilding work.Read more
Compassion in Action
Your service as a UCC Disaster Recovery Volunteer helps people rebuild their physical homes and is an act of presence that demonstrates the commitment to walk beside people as they seek to rebuild their lives. Together, we can be the body of Christ in the world. UCC Disaster Ministries has arranged the following opportunities for mission groups to help homeowners in the intermediate and long-term recovery process.
Serve as a group or as an individual for week-long periods.
Disaster Sites Accepting Volunteers
NEW! Florida Panhandle (Hurricane Michael)
Volunteers are being recruited now to help repair and rebuild homes in the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage when it made landfall there as a Category 4 storm in October 2018. The storm's heavy rain, high winds, and extreme storm surges caused massive destruction in its path and spawned numerous tornadoes. Work will be in Bay and Washington counties, which suffered significant home, crop and tree damage. The work will be a variety. Roofing is a number one priority as the rainy season is underway in Florida. All skill levels of volunteers are accepted. Groups will be matched up with work that is suitable to their talents. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
Puerto Rico (Hurricanes Irma and Maria)
Work may include repairing cement roofs, light carpentry, metal and wood roofing repair, and painting interior ceilings and walls. Most of the work will be done in the Humacao city area, the hardest hit area in Puerto Rico. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
Port Arthur, Texas (Hurricane Harvey)
Volunteers are helping to repair homes for low income renters who were displaced by the floods. Work may include but will not be limited to light carpentry, drywall, insulation, flooring, trim and painting. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
Volusia County, Florida (Hurricanes Irma & Matthew)
Repair/Rebuild homes. Roofing, gutting interiors, replacing insulation, siding, drywall repair and painting, flooring and other interior work as needed. Click here for more information and to volunteer.
BE INSPIRED – Create community. Practice discipleship. See God and other people and creation in new ways. Resources to help you prepare your group are available at UCC Mission Trip Opportunities.
LEARN – You are an important part of a larger system of response and recovery. Explore the networks in place for disaster response and recovery. Know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator. Follow UCC Disaster Ministries on Facebook at One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC).
SHARE – Your skills help rebuild and repair homes and lives. Construction skills: Framing, Plumbing, Roofing, Painting, Electrical, Landscaping
ADVOCATE – Use the authenticity gained by this experience to be a public voice for a just world for all in your local, state and national media and government bodies. Join Justice and Peace Action Network!
VIDEO RESOURCE - Houston pastors share the experience of going through Hurricane Harvey in this video, "Love Them Back to Life."
Disaster Ministries also has t-shirts available for sale in the UCC online store here.
Don’t miss this budget and mission stretcher! 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.Read more
For more info/to volunteer contact: email@example.com
The Disaster Event:
Hurricane Maria (September 2017) was the worst natural disaster on record to hit Puerto Rico. Nearly 3,000 people died - more than 60 in the hurricane and the rest from the crippling of health, power, water and other systems for months after the storm. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, estimates it will need $139 billion to fully recover.
UCC Disaster Ministries, working hand in hand with the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico:
- immediately responded to partners’ requests for generators, water filters, hygiene kits, food, first aid kits, tarps, construction materials, tools, vehicles and medical equipment.
- deployed Partners in Service Disaster Volunteers Doug and Judy Moore, who set up volunteer housing and scheduled volunteer work teams from across the U.S. The value of their labor: $95,000.
- gave preparedness workshops, funds for tuition assistance and pastoral support.
- fielded 14 work teams from May-December 2018 comprising 96 persons from 20 churches. The value of their labor: $95,000.
- restored 57 houses from May-December 2018, with 43 of those completed by volunteers. Almost all needed new roofs and painting. IEUPR repaired additional houses before May 2018.
- as of June 2019, restored two dozen more houses, bringing the total above 75.
- in mid-May 2019, made a grant of $3,475 to support the procurement and shipment of more equipment to be sent to Ryder Memorial Hospital. International Aid handles the shipping and requests from Ryder.
2018 funding: $504,849
2019 funding: $103,475 (January-June 2019)
What's Next? "We need more volunteers to help us stretch our resources and reach," said Zach Wolgemuth, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive. "Many more houses are on the waiting list." Work teams currently are being scheduled into 2020!
Work may include repairing cement roofs, light carpentry, metal and wood roofing repair, and painting interior ceilings and walls. Most of the work will be done in the Humacao city area, the hardest hit area in Puerto Rico.
Volunteers should be prepared to work hard. The work will involve being exposed to a hot and humid climate, some heavy lifting, and climbing ladders. There is also some work that does not entail climbing up onto roofs.
• Preparation for the trip: "Mission Trips That Matter" by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books
• On-Site Reflection: "Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Volunteers." Free copies may be ordered from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by calling 800.638.3522 ext. 2580 (ISBN 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
• Follow-Up Action: Help your local community prepare for possible disaster and response. Be sure your congregation has a plan in case of local disaster (see http://www.ucc.org/disaster_resources). Get to know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and stay involved.
Air conditioned dormitory style bunk bed volunteer accommodations at the IEUPR church camp. Volunteers will be using the camp kitchen to prepare meals.
Cost: Lodging and use of the kitchen are free however, donations to the camp are always welcome and appreciated. Volunteers are responsible for their own airfare, food and rental car.
Minimum Age: 16 years with a parental consent form.
Group Size: 15 maximum.
Adult to Youth Ratio: Each group must include a minimum ratio of at least 1 adult to every 4 youth of each gender.
Tools: Tools are provided. Volunteers are welcome to bring personal tools if they so choose.
Other Information: It is helpful, but not necessary, that work groups have two people knowledgeable in home repair and rebuilding. The worksites may be up to an hour’s drive away from the camp.
"We are supporting our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and call on all our churches to continue to pray and give financially for what will be a long road ahead," said Zach Wolgemuth, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive.