A special message from Janice and Byron Mann, disaster response co-coordinators for the Arkansas Conference

The response to the tornado that hit west Pulaski County, Mayflower, Vilonia, El Paso and Center Hill has been tremendous. Workers connected with the Arkansas Conference logged over 5,000 volunteer hours in the first two weeks. Volunteer time logged for the second two weeks post-disaster (through the Memorial Day holiday) stood at 1,118.25 hours.
Volunteer offers are slowing, and we are in the transition from relief (meeting immediate needs of food, water, shelter, helping to prevent further damage to property and clean up) to recovery (repairing and rebuilding), and the teams we have scheduled can finish up what is left to do right now. If we have unmet needs for workers or work teams, we will pass that word along through our various means of communication. 
With that said, please know that we are far from being finished with our response. We will be working with the Arkansas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ARVOAD) and through the Long Term Recovery Committees in the local areas to make sure that any unmet long-term needs are addressed. If you want to help in the long-term effort, please register by completing the volunteer form available at www.arumc.org/arkansas_disaster_response.
The repair and rebuild stage will require more skilled workers, but also general work teams. We ask that teams come with leaders who are VIM Team Leader trained or who have ample experience to direct their team effectively. We also would like to build a database of skilled individuals who might be available to serve; again, please register at www.arumc.org/arkansas_disaster_response.  
In addition to the many hours of labor, we have been able to offer storage (tubs, boxes, larger containers) and temporary housing (hotels and travel trailers). We have built steps, ramps and porches, as well as lean-to shelters for survivors to work under out of the rain and sun to sort and pack their belongings. We have been able to offer equipment needed to clean up and run water and sewer lines. We are getting ready to start doing some minor repairs as needed. We will be offering funding for the long-term recovery effort, as well as labor and materials as needed.  
We would like to offer a personal word of heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped in any way during the response. Not only do you all represent the Arkansas United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), but you also represent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to those who are hurting. This effort would be absolutely impossible without you.