September 4, 2020—Disaster Response Derecho Update

September 4, 2020—Disaster Response Derecho Update

September 04, 2020

The August 10 Derecho Storm has devastated more than 150 communities and over 8,000 homes in Iowa. We have State Disaster Declarations for 27 counties and Federal Disaster Declarations for 11 counties. (More are in the application process.) 
Many church buildings, parsonages homes, and businesses were damaged, some severely. Please consider reaching out to those brothers and sisters with notes, texts, calls, and prayers. If your buildings were damaged and you have not spoken with your DS or with Pastor Catie Newman, the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, 712-899-4067, please do so. We can help.  
The Iowa United Methodist Chainsaw Teams have been out since day one in many communities and will continue. Led by Rev. Andrew Happ they have worked tirelessly to clear trees and brush. If you still need trees or brush cleared around your home please call or text Rev. Happ at  319-241-0223. In addition chainsaw and ERT (UMCOR Trained - Emergency Response Team) crews from, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas have responded.
If you want to volunteer to help the Chainsaw crews in the Cedar Rapids Area with hauling brush and clean-up. Please meet at the Hiawatha City Hall Parking Lot, Friday, and Saturday mornings at 9:00 am. Please wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, eye protection, and work gloves. Plan to bring your own lunch and water. 
HOW WE RESPOND:  We want to “be a caring Christian Presence in the Midst of Disaster” and to not make the situation worse… a few considerations:
**Please do not take pictures of people’s personal items, homes, OR CHILDREN without their permission. This is a direct request from the storm survivors. This is a terrible invasion of privacy at a very difficult time. 
**PRAY - and PRAY some more. This storm has devastated Iowa, communities, and crops. MANY, MANY are impacted. YOUR PRAYERS are NEEDED.  It is in prayer that we unleash God’s power for one another. 
**VOLUNTEER -  Help is needed in many communities. Communities looking for help have listed times and locations for volunteer check-in and contact numbers on their social media pages and city web pages. Check with the community in which you wish to volunteer for those details. The Volunteer Disaster Agencies in Iowa (Including the United Methodists) are all working together with the local city government to meet as many needs in as many communities as possible 
**Contact Pastor Catie Newman to register a team by email at
**Please volunteer as a TEAM, (a group of 4 or more) we don’t send people out solo to do disaster work, stay in groups.  
**At the present time, we have limited places for volunteers to stay over. Plan to make your own overnight arrangements if you plan to stay for more than a day. (We are working on this) 
**CONTACT – If you know someone who has been impacted by the storm; contact them!  Call and offer words of encouragement AND LISTEN TO THEM. Actual voice to voice contact makes a huge difference in times of loss and disaster. Ask them what they need, AND GET IT FOR THEM. If someone comes to mind, there is a reason for it. Be God’s hands and heart and reach out.  
**DONATE -  FINANCIAL Donations can be given thru the Iowa United Methodist Church, Advance Special #223. ALL donations are used for supporting and helping Iowans affected by these storms. Financial Donations can be sent to Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, 2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50321.

You can also make a donation directly to a Church or Ministry that was impacted. Donations to UMCOR-US are used all over the United States, please mark them Advance Special #901670. Donation to UMCOR can be sent to the Iowa Conference office and they will send them on. Please make sure that your donations go to credible organizations.    

**PHYSICAL DONATIONS: To date, we have distributed over 1200 Clean-up Buckets and 672 Hygiene Kits thru the Cedar Rapids Derecho Distribution efforts at St Paul’s UMC. Midwest Missions Distribution Center has been a great partner in this effort.  

At this time we are not collecting physical donations (things). When we have a list of items needed we will publish that list. Please do not send unasked for items. It is difficult to know where to put them and someone has to handle them, haul, and sort them.  
As we move forward there will be many opportunities to help, reach out, support, and care for our sisters and brothers as we recover from this storm.
Be Well.
Pastor Catie Newman
Iowa United Methodist 
Disaster Response Coordinator
712-899-4067  call or text