This page contains information about locations where Disciples are responding to Disaster. Links to information about specific communities are at the bottom of the page. If you are looking for information about how to respond or prepare for disaster, the book Help and Hope: Disaster Preparedness and Response Tools for Congregations is an excellent resource. Published by Chalice Press and produced in cooperation with Week of Compassion and Church World Service, this book provides resources, narrative stories, and practical guidelines from contributors with a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. It will help any individual or congregation understand and engage more appropriately and effectively in the cycle of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Thanks to Chalice Press for giving permission for us to share chapter 8, “Knowing When to Stay and When to Go: A Guide to Volunteering.”
Most communities are able to help their own members following small disasters. Localized tornado damage or an apartment building fire, for example, are devastating to those who are affected. Neighbors and existing service agencies within the community are generally able to provide the assistance necessary to make a recovery. There comes a point for any community, however, where a disaster of a certain size or magnitude leaves more damage and devastation than the community is able to respond to on its own. In these circumstances, Disciples Volunteering seeks to be appropriately and flexibly responsive. Because needs vary and change as communities recover, Disciples Volunteering works with local leadership and ecumenical partners to match gifts, resources, and skills with identified needs. A number of factors also influence the level of involvement Disciples Volunteering has in the recovery effort.
Mission Stations are long term commitments between Disciples Volunteering, Week of Compassion, the Area or Region involved, and the local congregation(s). In these locations, a Disciples congregation is providing housing for out of town Mission Groups and Disciples Volunteering is closely involved in the on-going service offered through the Mission Station.
Ecumenical Responses are led by faith based organizations with which Disciples Volunteering often collaborate. All of our responses are ecumenical; the difference is that Disciples Volunteering’s primary involvement in these on-going recovery efforts is through calling and sending Mission Teams to serve under the leadership of our partners.
Referrals are made to recovering communities where Disciples Volunteering is not closely involved. There are a variety of reasons for this. The responses to many new disasters often start as referrals because an ecumenical effort has not yet been coordinated. Sometimes, local efforts have been sufficient in coordinating the recovery and the request from us is simply to point Mission Teams to their community.
[Mission Stations moved to “Servants Needed” page.]