2020 and 2021 have seen perhaps the greatest number, intensity, area, destruction, and property damage of any fires in known history – not only in the U.S. but around the world. Firefighters, state and federal agencies, and disaster networks in Northern California, Oregon, Washington State, Utah, and Idaho have been working continuously to prevent deaths, to bring fires under control, to save communities, to prevent property loss.
And immediately on the tail end of fires comes flooding caused by forest damage – more property damage. And hurricane season in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean is just beginning.
So how can churches and church members assist at this time of unprecedented natural (and man-caused) disaster?
- To UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination’s international disaster response organization. Donations to UMCOR can be directed to Advance #901670.
- To the Desert Southwest Conference Disaster Response ministry. Checks can be directed to the Conference office designated for Disaster Response.
- To Western Jurisdiction United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM WJ) Advance#901463
- Prepare: Get trained as an Early Response Team (ERT) volunteer. The Desert Southwest Conference (DSC) has more than 200 certified ERT volunteers. Contact DSC Disaster Response Coordinator Tom Mattick at TMattick@me.com.
- Assemble Resource Kits and Supplies: Your church and church groups – youth, seniors, children, men’s groups, women’s groups, Bible study classes, choirs, mission groups – can assemble disaster resource kits. The Disaster Response Committee is in the process of stocking Resource Warehouses in Phoenix and Prescott. Flood Buckets, Fire Resource Buckets, and Ash Sifters are needed. Contact Tom Mattick or Lorraine/Mike Eyer for further information. Use the links below to download how-to sheets.
- Mission Trips: Consider going on a Disaster Response Rebuild Mission Trip this year. Gulf Coast areas are continually in need of rebuild teams. Multiple Pacific Rim fire areas are currently opening for rebuild teams. Site coordinators are in place to identify appropriate work and to provide direction. Here is a link to “Planning Your Disaster Rebuild Mission Trip!” If you are interested in putting together or joining a Rebuild Trip, contact DSC UMVIM Coordinators Lorraine and Mike Eyer at email@example.com and click here to download the mission trip brochure.
- Connect: Join the DSC Volunteers in Mission group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/dscumvim.