Disaster Response Ministry Team

Our mission is to participate, as a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, in timely and effective meeting of the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of communities affected by natural and human-caused disasters.
Stand on the side of the oppressed through advocacy with and for those most in need.
Seek out unmet needs of all survivors, particularly people who were vulnerable before the disaster.
Provide a larger vision of life that includes emotional and spiritual care as well as physical rebuilding.
Assist in long-term recovery of those in need.
Restore and rebuild community relationships.
How can you be a part of this ministry?   Click HERE

   On Feb. 22, 2017 twenty conference disaster coordinators met in Cocoa Beach, FL.  The site was chosen due to a large number of homes affected by Hurricane Matthew.  We discussed the UCC National Response Plan with updates and new initiatives. We also discussed and planned the role of the conference disaster coordinators. A job description was agreed upon. The FEMA Val (Voluntary Agency Liaison) addressed the group and left us know what her job as the liaison was in a disaster. We were addressed by the VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters), Florida VOAD chair, told us about how Florida fared in Hurricane Matthew.  We also had the honor of a talk by the president of VOAD, Greg  Forester, President and CEO via internet. We learned of our importance in the scheme of a disaster.  Also how VOAD is there for all people.

     We were treated to a speech by Mary Schaller Blaufuss, Executive Minister for Volunteer Ministries at the National office of the UCC in Cleveland.  She was happy to see so many attending the conference and liked the work that each group was engaged in.  Time was set aside for each one to state what they felt was needed to help the coordinators do their best job as well as what our priorities were.  The group was treated to meals at the Cocoa Beach Community Church, who were very happy to share the meal with us and have some fellowship.

     The next day we went to Volusia County to tour the impacted area, this is in the area of Daytona, FL. We were given a tour of the Holly Hills Union Congregational church’s volunteer housing for work camps.  After which we were treated to lunch by members of the church.  It is a small church but filled with love and generosity.  After Lunch we were off to the Volusia County Emergency Operations Center.  They have the heads of  all the organizations involved in disasters during a disaster so that needs can be met.  One of those is the Florida COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters.

     All of this is what we all take home with us, to put to use in our own conferences in case of a disaster.  Right now we know that volunteers are needed in the Daytona area in Florida, they were hit by Hurricane Matthew one year and then again by Hurricane Irma.  So the need is very great.  We have been fortunate here in our area that we have not had to deal with a truly major disaster YET!!!  But it is just a matter of time.  We need to prepare others so that they can be safer in a disaster.  This includes having a survivor kit in your home and car.  Training is also helpful for individuals, such as first aid, CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resucitation, CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams).

     I cannot stress enough about preparing and training to keep you and your family safe.  If you are looking to help others, the Florida COAD is looking for volunteers for help at the various damaged homes. You can go to http://www.ucc.org/disaster for further information to see where help is needed. We truly are our brothers keeper’s, because there but for the grace of God go we.

June A. Arnold,  Co-coordinator,  PNEC Disaster Response Ministry Team

Stay informed! 
-Continued updates and important information on Hurrican Harvey & Hurricane Irma  2017

For more information, please contact:
Linda Lenhart, DRM Co-coordinator for PNEC     llenhart@ptd.net
June Arnold, DRM Co-coordinator for PNEC    seashore_80@hotmail.com
Donna Zangari, DRM Co-coordinator for PNEC   dzangari3@gmail.com

Links to recommended sites:
The United Church of Christ
Penn Northeast Conference
Church World Service
Citizen Corps

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