A string of deadly tornadoes and severe storms Dec. 10-11 devastated communities within the Kentucky, Western Kentucky-Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois-Great Rivers conferences of The United Methodist Church.
Now, United Methodists and other compassionate people are doing what they can to help in the aftermath.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief has been in communication with disaster response coordinators in these conferences and has initiated solidarity grants with three of the most severely affected: Kentucky, Western Kentucky-Tennessee and Arkansas.
These early emergency grants help meet the immediate needs of survivors and offer flexibility to the conferences in meeting those needs as they emerge.
Here’s how else South Carolina United Methodists can help:
Pray for the survivors. Pray for those who lost family and loved ones. Pray for families and individuals who lost their homes and possessions. Pray for the first responders who are putting their lives on the line to assist others. Pray that God’s peace envelops all who have lost, and for the strength they will need for the difficult journey that lies ahead.
2) Stay out of the way
While our instincts often prompt us to drop whatever we are doing to assist someone in great need, you would actually do more harm than good if you were to self-deploy to the affected areas. Instead, wait for updates on how and when to engage.
The South Carolina Conference cannot send Early Response Teams to other conferences without a formal invitation, which will come once those conferences are prepared to welcome them. ERT members will be notified when that time comes.
As rescue efforts begin to shift to response, UMCOR stands ready to journey with the affected conferences from the chaos of disaster toward a holistic, long-term recovery. There is a long road ahead, and we will walk it together.
3) Give to UMCOR
If you would like to help financially, the South Carolina Conference is urging people to give to UMCOR, so it can provide the resources that will be so critically needed over the coming weeks, months and years.
The best way to do that is to donate to UMCOR’s U.S. Disaster Response and Recovery (Advance #901670).
Do not send supplies or other materials to the affected areas. This usually causes a logistical nightmare because officials and volunteers are simply not ready to accept physical donations.
To donate to UMCOR by mail, make your check payable to Advance GCFA, write #901670 on the memo line of the check and send it to Global Ministries/UMCOR, GPO, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068.
To donate online, go to https://umcmission.org/umcor.