Iowa Disaster Response update for January 2016

Iowa Disaster Response update for January 2016

January 13, 2016

The month of December 2015 had many occurrences of storms, heavy rain, flooding, tornados and snowstorms in the Midwest and in Texas.
Here are updates on the disaster response efforts in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Texas and contact information if you want to help along with some suggestions as to what you can do right now.
  • Pray for one another and our sisters and brothers in crisis.
  • Make clean-up buckets to re-stock Midwest Missions.
  • Make a financial donation to help in the recovery efforts, Iowa Disaster Response Advance # 223 or UMCOR, United States Advance #901670 
  • Get trained as a VIM Leader or with Disaster ERT, spiritual care or case-worker training.
  • Write a letter to one of the churches affected and offer prayer and encouragement.
  • PRAY for one another. 

From the Iowa Disaster Response Ministry Team

We have had reports of many flooded homes, basements, businesses and schools. ALL of the areas that flooded this summer are flooded again, and now we add freezing temperatures. If you have had flooding or storm related damage and need help, please contact your District Disaster Response Coordinator (contact list at the end of this page) or your District Office.

Tornados touched down on both sides of the Mississippi River on December 23, 2015.  While several touched down and there were Tornado Warnings in North Eastern Iowa, little damage was reported. 
Illinois had tornado damage in several communities on December 23, 2015. Rev. Christina Volstead, the Illinois UMC Disaster Response Coordinator advises that at this time, local resources and the conference resources are able to handle the recovery efforts. If and when they need volunteers we will get the word out.
Missouri continues to battle flooding, high water and road closures.
Both Midwest Missions in Illinois and Sager-Brown in Louisiana have sent clean-up buckets. For those who want to make buckets to re-stock Midwest Missions, that would be great!  We will work on a place to gather them and then ship them.
Financial donations are needed, and in fact, right now, are the most helpful thing that we can do.  Any financial donations should be sent to the Missouri Annual Conference Disaster Response, with "MO Disaster Response" in the memo line. Mail them addressed to the Missouri Annual Conference,
3601 Amron Ct. Columbia, MO 65202 OR they can be sent to UMCOR United Stated Response, Advance #901670 (UMCOR is already involved and supporting the relief efforts.)
Personal hygiene kits are needed, these are easy to make and can be shipped to Midwest Missions, or Midwest Missions can advise where to ship these kits.  The most current list of items in a Hygiene Kit can be found on the Midwest missions webpage.

PLEASE DO NOT COLLECT "THINGS" i.e. clothing, food, household goods. While this seems like a way to help, the reality of storing and distributing these items is overwhelming right now. There may be a time later on that this sort of donation is asked for, but NOT TODAY.
We have made contact with the United Methodist Church in Missouri, on behalf of the Iowa Annual Conference and have offered our help, tool trailers, shower trailers, and volunteers. Soon volunteers will be needed. When the open call for teams goes out, we will pass that along.
In the meantime, consider getting people trained as VIM Leaders, contact Rev. Melisa Bracht-Wagner at 319-929-3281 our Conference VIM Coordinator to set up the training.
Secondly, consider one (or more) of our Disaster Response Trainings;  ERT (Early Response Training) Spiritual Care or Case Work. Any of these will be a good foundation for any volunteer teams. Contact Pastor Catie Newman to arrange for these trainings opportunities.
Lastly, consider beginning to coordinate a team now, pick some dates in later January or early February (or any time that suits you) and invite people to join you, (it always takes time to get a team coordinated.) You can register to volunteer and find a listing of volunteer needs at the Missouri Annual Conference website, Missouri Disaster Response, facebook/umcdisaster or or When you register, they will advise or assign you to a response that needs your help. PLEASE DO NOT GO IF YOU ARE NOT ASSIGNED OR INVITED.
According to Dan Steska, Associate Director for Disaster Response for the Missouri Annual Conference, as of January 3, 2016 7:00 pm, "the Missouri United Methodist Disaster Response is currently awaiting further instructions from state agencies as to how United Methodists will be asked to contribute."
So for now, we wait, pray, collect financial support, get trained and start developing teams. As hard as it is to wait, the protocol at ALL United Methodist Disaster Response operates under is that we wait to be asked to come and help, we do not simply show up unannounced and not invited.

From the South East Jurisdictional Disaster Response Ministries

The day after Christmas we saw severe weather across the South Central Jurisdiction. Most significantly impacted are the North Texas and Central Texas Conferences. Below, please find more information on what you can do to assist in their response efforts. Please note there has been no call for volunteers at this time. Financial support is the preferred response in both Conferences. Please continue to be in prayer for all of those impacted by these storms, and those who are responding to their needs.

North Texas Conference

Tornadoes swept through the Dallas area resulting in several deaths and injuries as well as damage to homes and businesses. Thousands have been affected. North Texas is collecting monetary donations and providing regular updates on their website at 

Central Texas Conference

As many as 9 confirmed tornadoes ripped through Central and North Texas Saturday, December 26th claiming 11 lives and leaving many neighborhoods facing total destruction. For more information on the Central Texas response and what you can do to help visit their website.

Iowa UMC Disaster Response Coordinators (DRC):

Conference Coordinators–Pastor Catie and John 
Catie: 712-899-4067 phone or text 
John: 712-899-4432,

Iowa UMC - District Disaster Response Coordinators (DDRC):

Southwest – Vicki Wedemeyer,   712-249-6703,
North Central – Paul Evans,  712-490-9693,
Central – Julie Wehner, 515-201-8183,
South Central – For now contact the South Central District Office or Catie and John Newman
East Central – Keith Pitts, 319-361-4255,
Northeast – Marlys Anderson,   563-379-2243,
Southeast – Arden and Karen Hughes,   319-621-3872,
Northwest – Jena or Kirk Manchester,  712-840-1834,