Moore, Oklahoma, and other communities in that state have been devastated by deadly and destructive tornados this spring. The stories and pictures are filled with heart-wrenching suffering and heart-warming resilience. The stories also point to our own feelings of helplessness in these times, whether from our inability to find our loved ones amidst the chaos, or not knowing how to demonstrate support for the victims.
Liberty Lutheran assists with disaster response efforts in 24 counties of Eastern Pennsylvania through its service known as Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (Which serves as a local affiliate for the national LDR organization.)
Here’s What You Can Do:
- Keep the Survivors in Your Thoughts and Prayers. In the recovery phases after disasters, survivors often remark about how meaningful it is to know that others care for them in their suffering.
Lutheran Disaster Response offers the following prayer:
Oh Lord, we ask that the peace, comfort and hope of Christ be with those in the Oklahoma City area, especially the town of Moore. Especially be with the first responders as they do their work. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
- Donate to a Trusted Disaster Response Organization: Lutheran Disaster Response, a national ministry affiliated with Liberty Lutheran for our local response, uses 100% of donations for “U.S. Tornadoes” to help families whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by this disaster. Click here to Donate Online. Find additional valuable information from LDR by clicking here – a bulletin insert to inform others of the ELCA’s response to U.S. Tornadoes;sign up to receive ELCA Disaster Response alerts; check the ELCA Disaster Response blog.
- Give Blood: Disasters exacerbate a critical shortage of blood products needed to help survivors. Call 1-800-Red-Cross for more information.
- Check Credible Websites for Community Needs – The followingwebsites that have been established to communicate the needs of the impacted communities and how you can help.
Please Do Not:
- Do Not Go to Oklahoma Right Now, unless you have a prearranged role in the system of disaster response. Self-deployed volunteers clog up the system of emergency management and divert the time and attention of first-responders away from critical work. Support the local first-responders who know the community and are already working hard. Trust that they will ask for assistance as they discover their needs. The websites in the paragraph above have detailed information on the needs of the communities.
- Do Not Collect and Send Supply Donations – other than funds – unless a credible organization has defined and established systems to handle such donations. After most disasters, mountains of donations, such as clothes and food, are wasted because of well-meaning donors who did not wait until a need was communicated and distribution procedures were defined.
In the Days and Weeks Ahead:
- Donation Needs Will Be Defined Through Disaster Response Agencies. Watch the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster website for information as it becomes available.
- National Lutheran Disaster Response Volunteer Opportunities will be posted on its website. click here.
- Volunteer Locally with disaster response initiatives to gain experience and to build relationships within the network. In Eastern PA, we are still rebuilding from Hurricane Irene/Tropical Storm Lee (Fall 2011) and Superstorm Sandy (Fall 2012) and local volunteer opportunities are available. Sign up to receive email updates from Lutheran Disaster Response – Eastern PA on our blog site. Local LDR-Eastern PA will also share national volunteer opportunities as they become available.
Take this opportunity to PREPARE for disaster BEFORE they occur. Hurricane season starts June 1st!
- Make a Plan: Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Click here for valuable information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Prepare a Kit: a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Click here for valuable information from FEMA.
- Activate Your Congregation: Congregations can take an active role in the community in the wake of disaster. Our facilities, people, and communication systems can be vital components of a quick response to people in great need. Click here for information from Lutheran Congregational Services to spark conversation and action in your congregation. Think about what your congregation already does well. Then consider how these gifts can be best utilized in the wake of a disaster.
About Liberty Lutheran and Disaster Response: Liberty assists with disaster response efforts in 24 counties of Eastern Pennsylvania through its service known as Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (Which serves as a local affiliate for the national LDR organization.) LDR-EPA works with individual congregations and clusters of congregations, the district president, bishop and other leaders, as well as other denominations, government agencies and community organizations to help prepare for and respond to natural or human caused disasters. When a local disaster occurs, LDR – EPA partners with local and federal emergency management, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and faith-based organizations to assess the situation and respond.