The following update was sent to MACUCC churches on Nov. 14 by the Conference Disaster Resource Team.
As the stories, images and needs continue to emerge from New York and New Jersey, our hearts go out to all the folks trying to manage through the crisis as they head for the long road to recovery. Requests for help and funds also continue to emerge and we want to respond. Below is a list of websites with information about ways you can help with the recovery efforts. If you have contacts that you know in the affected region who are looking for assistance or resources, let us know and we can post them for everyone in the weeks ahead.
Church World Service Bucket Collection
We have challenged our MACUCC churches to provide 1,000 clean-up buckets to Church World Service for their disaster recovery in the mid-Atlantic and beyond. CWS will be collecting buckets the first week of December.
Monday, Dec. 3, is the last day to drop off clean-up buckets. The Church World Service truck will collect them for delivery on Dec. 4. If you have assembled a bucket and wish to have a receipt mailed to you for tax purposes, you may call the Church World Service's office at 413-583-8355.
Here are collection points where you can deliver CWS buckets. Please phone ahead to be sure there is someone there when you arrive:
- Topsfield Congregational Church: 9 E. Common St., Topsfield, MA - 978-887-2101
- Massachusetts Conference office: 1 Badger Rd., Framingham, MA - 508-875-5233
- First Congregational Church of Raynham: 785 S. Main St., Raynham, MA - 508-822-6177
- Church World Service office: 733 Chapin Street - Suite 102, Ludlow, MA - 413-583-8355
Opportunities to Help
It is important to respond in ways that don’t complicate the work being done. So here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Be sure that the request is legitimate. Scams have already begun to emerge.
- Be sure that you bring/send only the things that the group requests. It is not unusual in disasters for recovery groups to be inundated with resources from well intentioned folks; unfortunately the groups doing the recovery work don’t have the capacity to manage, store, and distribute the resources and they become an additional burden. So be sure you communicate and coordinate with the recovery group.
- The same is true for volunteering. The need is tremendous, but be sure you work with a group that can use your skills and efforts and has the capacity to coordinate meals and lodging for volunteers.
For example, Central Atlantic Conference Minister John Deckenback said the following in an email sent to other Conference Ministers:
"You can help by advising interested parties NOT to send clothing/food/etc. at this time. Our churches have been very appreciative of the financial report received from One Great Hour of Sharing but an additional burden is being placed on them by the flood of clothing and other goods which has been coming their way.
"Daily we are contacted by individuals and groups from across the country who want to come to the region to help. We do not have the capacity to host groups at this time.
"We too join you in expressing our caring and concern for our neighbors in New York and southern Connecticut who are also recovering from Sandy's devastation.
"As we head toward Thanksgiving week, we thank you for your caring and willingness to help."
Here is the list of agencies and organizations that are coordinating relief and recovery efforts. (Again, please let us know of other trusted groups you have encountered.)
- New York Conference of the UCC: http://uccny.org/
- New York Red Cross: http://www.nyredcross.org
- NYC Mayor’s office: http://www.nyc.gov/html/index.html
- Hope For New York: http://hfny.org/hurricane/
The Red Cross has put out an appeal. Many blood drives had to be cancelled due to the storm's impact and that is seriously stretching the supply. If your church can host a blood drive, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross.
Don Remick, Jim Tilbe, Peter Wells
Disaster Resource Team