Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota staff and UCC Disaster Ministries coordinators continue to show love of neighbor by responding to the flooding that is dramatically impacting many towns, agricultural land and Native American Reservations throughout Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. UCC Disaster Ministries has already awarded $15,000 in Solidarity Grants to churches in Iowa and Nebraska who are working to serve affected communities. Disaster Ministries expects to award significantly more grants in the weeks ahead.
Many churches are providing extra help by becoming an emergency evacuation or feeding shelter, offering enhanced food pantry assistance or giving financial assistance to affected community members. If your church is doing such ministries in affected areas, please contact Jo Ordway about receiving a UCC Disaster Ministries Solidarity Grant. She will connect you with the appropriate disaster ministry coordinator in Iowa, Nebraska or South Dakota. Grants of up to $3,000 can be given within 7-10 days.
Churches may help in several other ways as well:
Pray. God hears and responds, and God changes our hearts when we pray. Praying for others is always life-changing. Add those affected by flooding to your worship prayers. Prayers for Disasters from the national UCC.
Donate to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), which supports disaster and refugee ministries. The UCC encourages you to donate generally to this fund rather than specifically to this or other disasters. Frequently there are small amounts of designated funds leftover after a disaster that cannot be used for other purposes. There are many other disasters going on around the world: currently Disaster Ministries is responding to at least three hurricanes/typhoons, three earthquakes, floods and famines and refugees. OGHS is among the best places to donate — more than 90% of your donation gets to its intended location.
The Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota conference also have special funds designated for disaster recovery ministries managed by conference staff. To give to those ministries, send a check marked with “state-Disaster Ministries” in the memo line to our Des Moines office: 5609 Douglas Ave., Des Moines, IA 50310.
Assemble Clean-Up Kits Learn more about how to assemble the kits and access UCC Grants for costs of purchasing the items in the clean up kits. Collection points those kits are in West Des Moines, IA and Lincoln, NE. Supplies have been seriously diminished with all the hurricanes and now the floods. Last week, 1,000 clean up kits were dispatched to Fremont, NE alone.
West Des Moines Christian Church
4501 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Contact: Luke Ehrhardt Luke@wdmcc.org
Drop off Dates and times from March 25 – April 19, 2019:
Monday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m
Thursday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
8300 East Pointe Road
Lincoln, NE 68506
Contact: Ed Schnabel email@example.com
Dropoff dates and times, year round (Other times may be arranged by appointment):
Monday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wed 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday (by appointment only)
Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
Help Rebuild. Although the UCC has assistance for communities in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it specializes in long-term recovery, staying for years after the news cameras have left an affected area. If you would like to help locally, Marshalltown, Iowa experienced a tornado in Fall 2018. Their rebuilding efforts are now underway. There are facilities for volunteer groups to come and stay for several days at a time through a joint arrangement between First Congregational UCC and First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Contact Habitat for Humanity Cedar Valley for information and to reserve your group’s work week.
Prepare. Your community may have escaped this episode of flooding or storm, but it may be affected next. Disaster Ministries has several pamphlets to help you prepare yourself and your congregation for the next disaster.
Stay Connected. The Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Facebook pages. Check also UCC Disaster Ministries updates on the web and One Great Hour of Sharing on Facebook and Twitter. These places will post news often more quickly than special emails can be sent. Like all of these pages to stay better connected.
Additional Ways to Help. Here are “12 Ways to Help Disaster Survivors Recover” from the UCC Disaster Ministries.
UCC Disaster Ministries coordinators and the staff of the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota Conferences of the UCC are very grateful for what our churches are doing to serve these devastated areas. We keep you in prayer and are poised to be a loving neighbor for weeks, months and years ahead.