The Reality of Disaster Relief: Being Prepared Matters
“Being prepared can smooth the way.”
The NOAA has predicted that the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will be “near normal.” However, when any disaster strikes close to home, nothing feels normal. ARDF recognizes this and wants to help.
Over the past few years, ARDF has helped communities respond to five major hurricanes. Recently, we held a workshop celebrating how churches respond to disasters.
Church involvement is worth celebrating! When volunteers come to help from the local church, they do so in the name of Jesus, tangibly demonstrating the grace that God extends to each of us. While no one wants a disaster to occur, local outreach can be an opportunity for the local church to sacrificially serve their communities.
This is easier when the local church has already thought about the ways in which it can help.
If you are in a church that is likely to be affected by a natural disaster, being prepared can smooth the way for effective ministry. One way to prepare is to designate a point person - an Emergency Coordinator - who can coordinate the needs of the community with volunteers and donors. Some churches and dioceses have already put this in place. It isn’t hard, but it does involve some planning.
Mary Bates, Disaster Coordinator for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), encourages churches and communities to be prepared by thinking through the greatest needs post-disaster. The North American Lutheran Church has a response kit that you can follow when those close to you are affected. Even familiarizing yourself with what the potential needs might be can help in the moment of crisis.
Even with careful planning, after a disaster, chaos is inevitable! The Bible tells us that there will be disasters. No life this side of heaven is untouched by brokenness and hardship, and yet ARDF has seen the kingdom grow through these times of chaos. In South Carolina and Texas, church volunteers were instrumental in building life-changing relationships as they responded to the disasters in their communities with grace and persistence.
We must remember that our actions, words, and prayers can and do make a difference!
In the meantime, prayerfully consider setting up a plan in your church or diocese. Your donations to our general domestic relief fund also allow ARDF to respond quickly when disaster strikes.
As we enter the peak danger time for tropical storms and hurricanes, we pray that your community will not be affected. Yet we want to help you prepare. Read through our resources and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We won’t know all the answers, but we can put you in touch with those who do.