VIM and Disaster Response updates

Clean up teams needed ASAP in NE Arkansas

Any available teams or individuals welcome. If needed, an on-site orientation/training will be provided and we will pair you with trained teams or individuals. Contact Byron at 870-826-0268 or vim@arumc.org. 

Repair teams needed for NE Arkansas 

The initial focus will be Lawrence County. We will see projects we worked to clean up through with repairs. As things develop in other affected areas we will move to those areas as needed. Repair work will not begin right away as there are things in the process beyond our control that have to be determined. What we do need is for teams to be ready so we can begin as soon as possible when the way is cleared.

Flood recovery teams still needed in SE Arkansas

Southeast Arkansas continues to schedule teams to help with repairs needed as a result of the March 2016 floods. Projects are identified and funding secured, but volunteer help is little to none. When considering mission opportunities, please consider our neighbors in Southeast Arkansas. Several priority cases are waiting. To volunteer, contact Ron Jones, site volunteer coordinator, at woodrat3@live.com or Janice Mann at disaster@arumc.org.

Local churches: prepare now to respond to disaster

Disaster begins and ends locally. The local community owns the response. When the event or damage overwhelms that community and its resources, it then reaches out for regional and, if needed, statewide assistance. Disaster response organizations in Arkansas are outlining the process for requesting and delivering assistance.

Local churches, prepare to be able to offer assistance for those affected by disaster if you should be approached by your local Red Cross, your local emergency manager or other known disaster response entity. That disaster might be a single-family house fire, a wind storm that affects just one or a few homes or a similar disaster (typically called a “low-level event”). Assistance from the local church might come in the form of food from a food pantry; clothes or household items from a local thrift store; or a church member walking alongside someone affected by disaster to help them navigate the available local resources. 

To better understand local church response to disaster, whether in a low-, medium- or high-level event, contact Janice Mann at disaster@arumc.org. She and Byron Mann, vim@arumc.org, are available to speak to individuals, classes or groups, or the whole church, as well as to lead training for a group from your church or community. Both Janice and Byron Mann are available by email or phone for consult whenever a question arises (see contact information above). There are three trainings every church should consider: 

Disaster 101 – How does disaster response work in the Local Church, District and Conference? How do we work with local, state, and national governmenal and non-governmental partners in disaster response? 

Connecting Neighbors – Local Church Preparedness (now a series of three shorter modules, geared to specific audiences within the church). 

Early Response Team – How we provide that caring presence in the aftermath of disaster while helping those affected begin their journey through recovery? It would be a huge benefit, when disaster strikes, to have three to five trained and prepared churches strategically located throughout a district; even better would be one per county. Might your church be that church for your area?

Got kits?

Rather than making our planned mid-May delivery to UMCOR’s Sager Brown Depot, Arkansas Conference Disaster Response kept what was gathered and requested more from Sager Brown in response to the April 26 wind storms and flooding across the state. Thanks to Sheri Mathews for coordinating the gathering efforts, to all churches and drop sites involved and to those who helped with pick-up and staging. Thanks to the team from the Leslie/Marshall Charge for helping to get supplies from Sager back to Arkansas, especially to Bill Dereckson for driving the truck; and to Zach Schrick and Emma Davis for taking the truck to stage supplies further south for those affected there.