In late February and early March, a profusion of strong winds, tornadoes and flood waters ripped through the southeastern region of the United States. The severe weather has left thousands in need of assistance. More than 35,000 have registered for FEMA assistance in Louisiana alone.
Through congregations, synods and Upbring (formerly known as Lutheran Social Services of the South), our disaster affiliate organization, Lutheran Disaster Response is working to assist those who have been affected by the flooding.
Or coordinator, Jessica Vermilyea, said, “Many families woke during the night to discover water in their homes, flooded vehicles and having to leave everything behind. The literal darkness of that experience, combined with the fear of their unknown futures, weighs heavily on each of them.”
Nikki’s husband lives with Crohn’s disease and her daughter is expecting her first child any day now. She told me that she is doing what she can each and every day to help her family get back on their feet. Because Nikki’s home was not located in a flood zone, she did not carry flood insurance and remains hopeful there will be federal assistance to help meet her needs, but fears it won’t be enough. Currently, her family is living with relatives and trying to salvage what they can. Nikki’s biggest concern at the moment, is making sure her new grandbaby will have a safe place to come home to. She is very thankful for the help she’s receiving and prays for continued strength and guidance.
There are many more, like Nikki, which have lost almost everything, and are fearful of not being able to recover. We will continue to monitor the situation until long-term recovery needs are become more defined and the community’s efforts to address long term recovery of survivors are more organized. We will then know how we will work with our many partners in the community to accompany survivors to rebuild their lives and achieve their “New Normal.” We will share those details with you as they become available.
In the meantime, Volunteers are needed now in both Louisiana and Texas, to assist with gutting and clean-up work from the recent flooding.
Groups interested in volunteering in Louisiana can contact Jessica Vermilyea by email at Jessica.Vermilyea@upbring.org or by phone at 504-376-9121.
For groups interested in volunteering in Texas, please contact the VRC listed below.
Deweyville VRC Location (serving Orange County):
Deweyville High School
171 TX-12 Orange, TX 77632
Be a part of the response:
Your gifts to respond to these U.S. spring storms through Lutheran Disaster Response will work to bring God’s hope, healing and renewal to those who have been affected.
Gifts designated for U.S. Spring Storms will be used in full (100 percent) until the response is complete to help disaster survivors recover and rebuild their lives. Your generous offerings of prayer and financial support will help address the unmet needs of those affected.
Join me in prayer and partnership, and use this bulletin insert in your congregation to help spread the word and support those who need rest.
As you begin to make plans for future mission trips for rebuild groups, please keep these areas in mind.
Ways to Give
Checks or money orders should be sent to:
Lutheran Disaster Response P.O. Box 1809 Merrifield, VA 22116-8009
Write “U.S. Spring Storms” on your check memo line.