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Helping After Disaster Strikes

Helping After Disaster Strikes

When a natural disaster like a tornado, hurricane, or flood strikes it causes lots of damages to homes. People called disaster relief workers and case managers help out. They manage supplies and money that are donated so they can put everything to the best use. The following is a true story of a family in the Florida Keys that had their home damaged by a hurricane (from 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve).

Baby’s New Room

Vernon showed up at a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) transition meeting. No options remained. His family needed help. They were expecting a new baby and everything they owned had been damaged.

At the meeting, Vernon listened to Carrie speak about support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and felt he could approach her. Carrie listened and said, “We can open a case for you, and I’m sure we’ll find help.”

The next day, Carrie’s co-worker opened a case for Vernon and sent Jim, the contract manager, to meet with him. Rebecca received a call from a church that had raised money. They wanted it to be divided between three national disasters, including Hurricane Irma. They wanted to be involved in choosing the recipient.

Jim realized that the money Vernon’s various sources of relief and insurance fell short of, was what they needed. When Jim discussed the situation with Carrie she decided to share the need with that church she’d heard from. The church approved donating $20,000 to help with Vernon’s home, especially because of the needs of the new baby.

The disaster inside the house meant they would have to rebuild every room. Jim and Vernon agreed a clean room for the baby remained the most pressing need. If they could not provide an approved room for the baby, social services might take the child away.

Jim didn’t have a volunteer group coming in from churches that week, so he gathered the UMCOR team while Vernon asked his neighbors and church members to donate some hours. That week the volunteers laid a new floor, put up drywall, painted, and decorated the baby’s room. Mom and baby boy arrived home from the hospital to a beautiful new and safe room.

Helping After Disasters

Everyone can help after disasters. Here are some ideas:

  • Churches can send volunteer teams of adults and older teens to help (you might have a parent willing to go and when you are old enough, you can be ready to volunteer).
  • Families and people can donate money or gift cards (to hardware stores and grocery stores that are open in the region of the disaster).
  • Churches can contact a church in the disaster area and ask what is needed. Some churches have offered and received approval to send home-baked goods for the churches to give out, so you could bake.
  • Collect needed items from a list. It might include diapers, canned food, working flashlights, and can openers, hardware supplies, and other items. Some things like water purification systems are much better than heavy bottled water that costs money to deliver.
  • Raise money to send. This can be donated to an approved agency or church relief group. Check online to find out which ones use the money to assist people and are approved.

By: Author, speaker, writing and marketing coach Karen Whiting has lived through disasters and heled with disaster recovery. Her newest book 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve shares real stories (names changed) or people who serve in the community, nation, and world in many different roles (military, firefighters, law enforcement, missions, volunteers, disaster relief, EMST, and more). Hands-on activities in the book help children develop compassion.

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