|Missouri District Disaster Response is coordinated through Lutheran Family and Children's Services (LFCS) of Missouri. Find information here.
Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri is the designated Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) coordinating agency for Missouri. In that role LFCS works with a variety of public and faith-based disaster response groups in meeting the needs of those impacted by natural or man-made disasters.
For more information regarding Missouri Lutheran Disaster Response contact us at 314-787-5100 or 866-326-LFCS. You may also send us an e-mail at Disaster Response.
LCMS responds to Oklahoma tornado
Disaster Response ministry prepares for long-term recovery efforts
ST. LOUIS, May 21, 2013In the wake of the monstrous tornado that struck Moore, Okla., and severe storms that affected other areas of the Midwest yesterday, The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod (LCMS) asks for prayers and financial gifts to help those affected by the disaster.
The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the LCMS, and the Rev. John Fale, associate executive director of the LCMS' Mercy Operations Group, have been in contact with LCMS Oklahoma District President Rev. Barrie E. Henke to begin assessing needs in Moore and plan the church's long-term disaster response plan.
"The needs are going to be huge, Fale said. "We don't know yet the extent of what they will be, but, by the grace of God, we will be there to respond with the love and mercy of Christ to help those affected by the tornado to regain some sense of normalcy.
The EF4 tornado destroyed parts of Moore and killed at least 24 people. Before striking Moore, the tornado touched down in Newcastle, Okla., about 10 miles away.
"We know there are many people who wish to participate in bringing tangible relief to those who suffer from disasters, Fale added. "Those who wish to volunteer with response efforts in Oklahoma are asked to wait for the assessment of the damages and the needs. In the meantime, the best way to support our Synod's relief effort is by contributing to the LCMS' general disaster fund.
To financially support the LCMS relief effort:
- Give a donation online at https://www.lcms.org/givenow/disaster
- Mail checks made payable to "The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod (with a memo line or note designating "LCMS Disaster Relief to:
The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861
- Call toll-free 888-930-4438 (8:10 a.m. 4:10 p.m. CST, Monday Friday)
In the last nine years, the LCMS has awarded more than $31.7 million through 698 domestic and international grants for emergency response and ongoing disaster relief in the wake of events including the tsunami in Asia; Hurricane Katrina; the earthquakes in Japan, Haiti and Chile; and Superstorm Sandy. To learn more about the LCMS Disaster Response ministry, visit www.lcms.org/disaster.
| May 2013
| FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CTS)It seems that each day brings more news of tragedy, sometimes through human hands and other times from natural disasters. It is understandable that in these times we have difficult questions. We wonder what we can do to care for those who are suffering, how we can best share the hope of Christ in times of pain and we ponder anew the question of why we suffer at all. While there are no simple answers, we are not alone; there is hope in the cross of Christ. In these uncertain times, and especially in the light of the recent tornado in Oklahoma, two members of the Concordia Theological Seminary faculty offer words of comfort and peace.
Dr. John Reynolds, assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at CTS, reminds us that the things of this earth are fleeting and we must look to Christ, the one thing needful, to find comfort for ourselves and those around us. Dr. David Scaer, professor and chairman of Systematic Theology at CTS, points out that tragedies, massive or small, give us an opportunity to assess our lives and realize we are all accountable to God who controls all things according to His will. These are not occasions to conclude that God is condemning those who are suffering from the tragedies as greater sinners than those who are spared. Both responses can be read and downloaded at
To learn more about the relief efforts being offered by The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod and how you can help, go to www.lcms.org/disaster
Please, dear Lord, we pray for those preparing for Hurricane Sandy that you will protect, sustain and comfort them. The LCMS Disaster Response ministry is poised to help districts and congregations respond locally to Hurricane Sandy. Learn more and give:
On Monday, October 29th, 2012, Hurricane Sandy came ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey and left a wake of destruction covering over 12 states, including the states of our New England District. We are still waiting for damage assessment reports from some of our circuit counselors. Thankfully, the northern states of the New England District seem to have made out pretty wellPraise God! Reports from Circuits 1, 2 and 4 are indicating that for the most part, other than some tree limbs/trees down and numerous power outages, everything is good! The New England District office is up and running.
The worst hit areas in New England seem to be Connecticut and Rhode Island, especially along the shoreline. As stated, we are working hard to get damage reports.
I have been in touch with LCMS President Matt Harrison, and he has assured me that the Synod's Disaster Relief Ministry is poised to help wherever needed. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the people of the Atlantic, New Jersey, Eastern, Mid-South and Southeastern districts as they discover the extent of the damage to their areas.
Please pray for all of the people who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, and for all of the disaster relief coordinators, first-responders and city and town officials that continue to work long hours to bring relief to all.
If you have (or know of) a situation related to the storm that the district should be aware of, please contact your circuit counselor or the district office directly.
We will continue to keep you updated as the assessment and storm cleanup progresses.
May you feel God's loving arms surrounding you as we work together to help our neighbors in need and bring glory to His name!
Vicki - Victoria Latour, Administrative Assistant to the President, NED
400 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01109
| Here is the updated Volunteer Packet info for Transform Joplin.
In a nutshell, as you speak wiith folks who have an interest in serving with us, our focus is relying more heavily on our partnership with Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, so teams who are comfortable building Habitat homes is our main focus. These teams do not need to be full of construction type folks but a few experienced individuals who can give direction to the rest of the team is very helpful.
We can also still use unskilled adult and youth teams; however, we would like to keep those teams to a smaller size, as finding unskilled work is becoming harder as the weeks tick by. This may change in the fall as there will be a need for lots of landscaping work and furniture moving help as all of these homes are completed. We don't want to place limits on who can serve with us, so please contact me regardless of the skill level if you believe the Spirit is nudging you to serve here. :-)
We still need folks with construction skills and mixed teams with folks who can give others direction is fine. But the teams of 10-40 youth or college aged students with limited and/or no construction skills just does not work anymore. Please do not send unskilled workers. There is not much work that they are able to do.
The following weeks we could use up to an additional 20 skilled volunteers each day:
4/3 - 4/7 6/26 - 6/30 7/17 - 7/21
The following weeks we could use up to an additional 40 skilled volunteers each day:
3/27 - 3/31 4/10 - 4/14 4/24 - 4/28
5/1 - 5/5 5/8 - 5/12 5/15 - 5/19 6/12 - 6/16
Thanks and blessings in all that you do,
Director of Disaster Response
Immanuel Lutheran Church - LCMS
2616 Connecticut Ave - Joplin, MO 64804
main: 417.624.0333 | fax: 417.624.2774
||Immanuel Joplin Announces Blackout Dates
Trent Davis, Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Immanuel Joplin, has announced blackout dates for Christmas break. Immanuel is extremely grateful to all the many volunteers from around the country who have come to help Joplin recover from the devastating tornado of May 22 this year.
The team at Immanuel will take a break from December 19-25 and will not be hosting any volunteer teams on these dates. If you would like to bring a team to Joplin in 2012 please click below and register. The rebuilding of Joplin is expected to take as much as five years and volunteers are vital to the ongoing efforts there.
|| Martin Luther School Principal Jeremy Schamber Reports Latest from Joplin
|| The following is from Trent Davis, Immanuel's full-time director for the rebuilding effort.
On behalf of everyone at Immanuel Lutheran church in Joplin, MO (and the folks in Carthage and Neosho.) We wanted to express our heartfelt thanks for your help over the past few months helping the people of Joplin recover from the tornado. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of all of the volunteers and words can't express how thankful we are for you.
We have some exciting news!
We are in the process of holding several informational meetings with our congregations as we put together a strategic plan for how to continue the efforts of rebuilding and recovery in the months and years ahead with a focus on sharing the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors while we help them rebuild their lives and homes.
But we need your help once again. As someone who has supported our efforts here we would like your feedback as well.
We have created a FaceBook page called "Transform Joplin" and on this page you will find a rough draft of a strategic plan that we are developing for our long term recovery efforts.
Please search and like the Transform Joplin Facebook page and then read the latest version of the plan and tell us what you think; who do you think we should focus on serving and in what ways?
We also have a few different polls. Please take the time to participate in those as well and check back frequently as we continuously revise and update our plan using the feed back that we receive from our members and all of you.
We want to have a final version of the plan to our church council for their approval by the Oct 18th council meeting and then approval of our congregation soon after.
We are continuing to host volunteer teams and have groups scheduled through July of 2012. If you are considering returning to serve with us, just know that most of the clean up is done and now the hard work of rebuilding is beginning. Not everyone on a team needs to have construction experience in order to serve, but we would like at least a few of your team members to have experience so they can give guidance to the ones that do not.
Please sign your teams up to serve through lutheranchurchcharites.org and please keep LCC in your prayers and also consider helping them financially as all of the great people there have been fantastic partners with us and will continue the great work they do not only with us but all around the world.
One note, at this time the Facebook page is for developing the long term ministry not for questions about current team activities please email me with those questions. At some point in the future we will begin using the Facebook page as another way to communicate up to the minute needs and a place for questions, but not yet :-)
Thanks and May the Lord continue to bless you and yours, Trent Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Disaster Response
Immanuel Lutheran Church - LCMS
2616 Connecticut Ave - Joplin, MO 64804
main: 417.624.0333 | fax: 417.624.2774
|ongoing needs in Joplin
||Needed: generic Visa, Wal-Mart, or Target gift cards to buy supplies and help people in need, financial gifts to help those who come to us, or store specific cards, like Petsmart, Office Depot, etc... as the Lord leads.
September Report from President Mirly - Update on Joplin
A Joplin church and its school are giving new meaning to the phrase "Man's best friend.
UPDATE 7/31/11: Relief Coordinator, Lyla, was scheduled to end her time of service July 23rd. She extended her time to the end of July to allow church leaders to make arrangements for her replacement. We are in the process of transitioning to a new person. We will try to make this transition as smooth as possible. Please be patient when the inevitable bumps in the road arise.
A long term planning committee is forming to work on our church's plan for helping rebuild Joplin. We will update the website as decisions are made. The church council has decided to continue deploying volunteers for at least the next three months, possibly longer.
NEW NEED: Immanuel, Joplin, needs safety glasses! Hundreds of them. Can you help? Do you know someone who can?
*A TIME OF TRANSITION: Things are changing at Immanuel- again! As the number of tornado victims visiting the "store" and coming for lunch has significantly decreased, we are shifting our focus and resources to volunteer deployment.
ONGOING MINISTRY: Immanuel will continue:
1. Receiving work requests from the community
2. Deploying volunteers
3. Sending food and drinks out to workers in the debris field on UTVs
4. Giving people a place to rest and have a cold drink during the work day.
5. Continue providing sack lunches for volunteers registered through Immanuel as needed.
||Volunteers needed in Joplin with bobcats, stump grinders, backhoes, and other heavy equipment to tear down walls and clear debris. August 15th is the deadline for homeowners!! Register at http://www.lutheranchurchcharities.org/
|| New flooding pictures from St. John's, Corning.
||Other relief agencies are packing up and leaving, and traffic at Immanuel has picked up considerably in the last week. Lunch service had been dropping steadily (to about 100), and then jumped back up to 500 per day!
||Serious flooding is occurring in the northwest corner of Missouri. Rev. Brian Lemcke has provided pictures of the flooding which can be found here. To date no request for assistance has been received, but would you and your congregation keep this region of the state in your prayers?
|Two short videosfrom Immanuel/Martin Luther in Joplin are available to share.
||From Immanuel: One need we have is for a (single axle truck and) driver to deliver a trailer. Members at Christ Lutheran in the KC area, Michael and Kelly Yulich, have gifted us with a 48ft. Fry-Wagner moving van. It is a single axel tractor-trailer. Because of various issues, they need someone to deliver the trailer to us. The trailer is in Parkville, Mo. Kelly is hoping that someone from another Lutheran church will have the necessary connections to help her get the trailer to us. (contact Jennifer at the district office - 314-317-4553)
Please share that child care has begun, a 10-shower trailer unit has been repaired and is now in use, the relief center has been relocated to the back of the school in containers, and volunteer crews continue to go out on jobs throughout Joplin. Our building continues to reveal it's damage to us. We will need serious repair and support to be ready for the school year.
We are seeking volunteers for VBS from nearby communities, but other VBS volunteers from around the district will almost certainly be needed. In particular, the site leader roles that are usually filled by Pastor and Jason: Story Teller and Bible Challenge Leader.Our critical need is storage- the Yulich trailer could help with that tremendously. Gift cards also help because we can buy supplies locally without having to store them. Good for the Joplin economy, good for us. (Lowes, Wal Mart, Target, general Visa/MC...)
Cleaning supplies continue to be in demand, and fly off the distribution center shelves.
Volunteers! Signs on 1-44 directing volunteers to alternate exits do not apply to volunteers working with Immanuel. Take Rangeline exit, turn left on 32nd St, and right on Connecticut. The church and school are on the left at 26th and Connecticut.
Support Joplin's VBS:
July 17-21 - We need generic Visa, Wal-Mart, or Target gift cards to buy extra supplies for an anticipated very large crowd this year.
Send cards to Immanuel Lutheran c/o VBS 2616 Connecticut Ave., Joplin, MO 64804.
Any overage may be used for an upcoming Camp Noah, a camp specifically for children who have survived trauma, or other relief related needs.
Pres. Mirly and Ed. Exec. Dennis Gehrke took some pictures during their last visit.
"Some items to collect that are continuously in demand are individual powdered drink mix packets, cleaning supplies, and gift cards. Lowes, WalMart, Target, JC Penney, and Kohls are some local stores that are still open.
We have received an over abundance of water, but cannot seem to get enough sports drinks. The drink mix packets are ideal because they don't take up much space, and they can turn the water we already have into the sports drinks that we lack. Likewise, gift cards aren't difficult to store and help to meet whatever need might arise. Laundry detergent and cleaning supplies are also in high demand."
Immediate Relief Supplies Needed:
Canned and Dried Goods
Sheets (No Blankets)
We are no longer accepting clothing, baby items, toiletries and blankets.
||Today's report from Immanuel, Joplin, is that the distribution center is looking good! Storage trailers have arrived and classrooms are now clear of stored items. They are moving ahead with plans of offering daycare, though the building does offer some obstacles with A/C and ductwork issues. Several in the medical field have responded to the need for help - keep it coming! They are praying for someone in their midst to be clinic coordinator - please pray along with them. 6/9/11 - Success!! A cliinic director has been found!
Immanuel, Joplin, needs Missouri licensed doctors and nurses to serve in the clinic. Even a day or two could be crucial in keeping the medical clinic available to the community.
The clinic is administering tetanus shots, doing wound care and addressing respiratory distress caused by the massive amounts of airborne debris from the rubble, among other things.
If you are a medical professional and can donate some of your time to help Immanuel, please visit the Lutheran Church Charities site (scroll to the bottom of the page) and register as a volunteer. Note specifically that you are a doctor or nurse so you are assigned to the clinic.
All Joplin volunteers should register at www.lutheranchurchcharities.org. They will be assisting in scheduling crews to help at Immanuel. After clicking on "Volunteer," scroll down to bottom of page to enter information.
|Pres. Mirly's Press Release
You can "Adopt-a-Youth: Adopt a youth affected by natural disaster to attend the June 24th Missouri District Sr. High Youth Gathering. The cost is $149 per person. There are at least eight sr. high youth in Immanuel, Joplin's youth group who lost their homes or had significant damage. (maybe more with friends who could be invited, need a much deserved break and would hear the Good News.)
We would like to provide full scholarships for these youth. Click here for more information
|All volunteers should register at lutheranchurchcharities.org. They will be assisting in scheduling crews to help at Immanuel. (go to bottom of page)
KFUO AM 850: Pastor Gregory A. Mech from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Joplin should be calling in this morning, Wednesday, June 1, for a 9:05 a.m. interview. http://www.kfuo.org/
By Kim Plummer Krull
Two children, ages 6 and 8, from a member family at First Lutheran Church in nearby Neosho, Mo., are among 132 confirmed deaths from the devastating twister that ripped through Joplin, Mo., on May 22. The children's mother and her 2-year-old child were hospitalized....full story
Within driving distance? Perhaps you can buy items and drive them over.
(They have packed up what they needed to put in storage and now have room for what they need to collect and distribute.)
OR you can order from needs list online and have them shipped.
(Lowes, Home Depot, True Value, Harbor Freight, etc...)
Immanuel has some immediate needs!
batteries - C and D specifically but all are needed
XL Pull On Adult Diapers (Depends)
Large Garbage Cans
for Free Clinic:
|From Immanuel: Our facility is maxed out at this time. Until we find some storage, we can't accept any more clothing donations that are not listed. Please check back with us as the need will be ongoing. As soon as space is cleared we will post that we are taking donations again.
The word about our facility has spread and many tired, hungry families and rescue workers are getting hot meals, medical care, and supplies. When they walk in our gym, you should see their faces. They are overwhelmed by the love of Christ that is being lavished on them. Thank you for standing with us through this incredibly tough time. The Body of Christ is beautiful!
||Immanuel is overflowing with donations. They would like to store these items for future distribution. They need to move stuff out as soon as possible. Please e-mail MissouriDistrict@mo.lcms.orgif you have the ability to pick-up and store a large quantity of items for an undetermined amount of time. (They may need to have access - the closer to Southwest Mo., the better)
Lutheran Family and Children's Services:
Joplin Disaster Response: The recent tornado in Joplin, Missouri is now being considered the single most deadly tornado in recorded United States history, with 128 confirmed fatalities and concerns that the number will continue to rise. The tornado flattened a huge area of the city leaving hundreds homeless. The physical devastation is still being evaluated.
Pray for all those affected by these tornadoes and other disasters. Pray for the responders putting themselves in harm's way to help the victims and perform rescue efforts. Pray for the long-term needs of disaster-affected communities like Joplin that are often forgotten after the initial news coverage is past.
When disasters such as this strike, many of us want to know how we can reach out. Many of us also want to know that our dollars are being used in responsible ways that benefit victims.
Please use established structures for material assistance and volunteer efforts. While all help is appreciated, there are costs associated with shipping food and clothing and distribution of donated items. Specifically in Joplin, the storage and distribution systems are not well established. Authorities are asking individuals to donate cash to their preferred agency.
In the immediate future, Joplin is not ready for volunteers. Lutheran Family and Children's Services is the Missouri coordinating agency for Lutheran Disaster Response, representing both ELCA and LCMS. We encourage you to give a gift NOW by Clicking Here or visiting our web site at http://supportchange.lfcsmo.org/site/R?i=ipIfhjcwLCWGYTjAEHDyhw.
Prayers and financial support are practical ways to help disaster victims, especially when needs are still being evaluated and distribution points have not been set up. We will, in coming weeks, share volunteer opportunities for those wishing to put their faith into action.
A story of one of our LCMS pastor's sons:
the tornado struck Sunday night, May 22nd. Jordan lived in an apartment house and he knew he had to try and find safety, so he crawled into his bathtub and held a piece of drywall over him. He told his parents he could feel the roof blowing away, then the walls, then he was traveling in the tub - he didn't know how far he would be blown but all of a sudden the wind just stopped and the bathtub dropped straight down onto a paved road. He kept yelling for help and through the guidance of God, one of his friends found Jordan. Jordan had held onto the edge of the bathtub so tightly he had cut his hands to the bone. When his friend stood him on his feet, he couldn't stand the pain, so the friend picked Jordan up and carried him 4 blocks to a triage hospital. Reportedly, Jordan's hip is like jellowe did hear that a metal rod will be put in his body from his hip to lower on his leg. He will need lots of therapy to learn to use his leg. On top of the injured hip, he has many cuts and bruises. His apartment is destroyed and all of his personal belongings, clothes, etc. are gone. He had his wallet in his pocket as he lay in the bathtubthat turned up 50 miles away.
Submitted by Rev. Terry Cripe, President of the Ohio District of the LCMS
May 26, 2011
||Care and other area congregations. We are NOT at this stage. It is still search and rescue.
Negating previous messages - do not e-mail the congregation. They are still waiting to hear from/communicate with members.
Immanuel is getting it's bearings. Red Cross is setting up a station, and the parking lot is full of emergency vehicles and first responders, as the church is on the edge of devestation and the parking lot is a clear place to park. Special thanks to the very local churches who are able to provide the meals.
The congregation still isn't ready for groups of volunteers at their location. You are encouraged to call 2-1-1, or if 2-1-1 is not yet active with your phone provider, you can reach the 2-1-1 call center by dialing (800) 427-4626 or visit http://www.211missouri.org/.
We have not received any reports of injuries or major damage in Sedalia.
There is no place to stay in Joplin and we have not coordinated yet with LCMS World Relief and Human Care
taken by Rev. Doubek of Neosho
Rev. Glenn Merrit's blog - should have info on Joplin when he gets bandwidth
from Immanuel: Sister Congregations.....We are overwhelmed by your offers of support and labor! At this time we are not able to access neighborhoods as search and rescue are still underway. We have a co-ordinator that will be on scene soon, please keep checking the web-site for updated information. We need your help and support, but please give us time to respond. God Bless you
Because of the unusually high demand for LCMS Tornado Disaster Relief funds, the Synod's mercy arm is greatly in need of your help. Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of Disaster Response, says the challenges are huge in Joplin, but he is confident that our fellow LCMS members will respond with care and compassion.
Congregation members are checking in with the church. Lots of displaced members. The congregation is hosting a dinner tonight. There is a need for certain items, but until we can determine if people are allowed into the city I can't send you there.
To start collecting for immediate needs - Immanuel has expressed a need for: water bottles, Gatorade, tarps, work gloves, toiletry kits, clothing, linens, packaged snacks, places for people to stay, places to store possessions, loaner cars, temporary shelter for pets.
5/23/11 - Joplin, MO
Hope to have more information for you tomorrow when some district/synodical disaster relief visits are made and Immanuel Church and Martin Luther School can tell us how we can be of service to them as they help their community.
School not safe to enter; church building seems OK.
Pastor may have serious house damage. *Four teachers homes destroyed. DCE Glaskey's power has been restored.
We are getting updates on Joplin sporadically, as power and phone lines are down. As of 10:30 last night, principal was waiting to hear back from one more teacher, so all but 1 school and church staff accounted for.
By Kim Plummer Krull
Because LCMS World Relief and Human Care's tornado relief fund was depleted by last year's tornado relief efforts, gifts are urgently needed to respond to this spring's historic onslaught of twisters and storms in the Midwest and the South.
To contribute to the Synod's tornado disaster response:
- Mail checks (noting "Tornado Disaster Relief" in the memo line) to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
- Call toll-free 888-930-4438.
- Make an online donation for LCMS "Tornado Disaster Relief" (click here).
I'm sure many of our Lutheran churches and groups are looking for ways to volunteer in response to the recent storms. Please help get the word out by forwarding the attached through your email distribution systems. Groups can also register directly online http://www.211missouri.org/.
Jim Eckrich, LCSW
Director, School Services and Disaster Response
Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri
District and Congregation Disaster Response Grant Form
FROM: President Mirly
RE: Update on Friday storms
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Hallelujah!
I pray that your Easter worship was uplifting and celebrative.
I'm sure that you join me in giving thanks to our gracious heavenly Father for providing protection for all who were directly impacted by the severe weather in the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area this past Friday. The T.V. images are almost beyond comprehension, aren't they?
Saturday morning I phoned each church office and/or pastor that I believed might have been impacted by the severe weather. There were only a couple of instances where I had to leave a voice mail. From personal contacts I can report to you that of those I spoke with, no LCMS church or associated property sustained any significant damage. Further, only one pastor reported having a member that lost their home. Others reported some tree damage, yard debris, fences blown down, etc.
If you, a member, or someone in your community did sustain damage and are in need of immediate financial assistance, please contact Glen Merritt (314.996.1395) at Lutheran World Relief and Human Care. He and his department will guide you to the application process for such assistance.
Other agencies or organizations providing assistance are:
United Way's 211 is serving as the central information point for all activity related to the disaster. If you know of someone affected by the tornadoes, have them call 211 to access help. Operators are available 24/7. Dial 211 (just like 911 in an emergency) from a landline or (314) 421-INFO from a cell phone. Information is free and confidential.
If your congregation wants to help:
- Call United Way's 211 for volunteer opportunities. They are coordinating information on how best/where to volunteer. Dial 211 (just like 911 in an emergency) from a landline or (314) 421-INFO from a cell phone.
- Response organizations ask that you NOT just "show up" in a neighborhood to help as this could have unintended negative consequences. Please volunteer through a disaster response organization.
- Service International organized a clean-up effort today in the Bridgeton area. Volunteers were to report to Grace Church (2695 Creve Coeur Mill Road, Maryland Heights) and wear work boots/hard-soled shoes. While this work will probably go on all week, please contact United Way's 211 each day to see if volunteers continue to be needed at this location or at new locations.
- Please do NOT start a clothing or supply drive in your congregation. While these items may be needed down the line, at this point there does not exist a mass collection facility and the need for specific items is as yet undetermined.
- Be aware that the recovery effort will take months. Continue to be in contact with United Way's 211 for ways in which your congregation can get involved on an on-going basis.
- You can donate money to the following organizations:
- Lutheran Family & Children's Services of Missouri- designate the gift for St. LouisDisaster Response. They will focus on long-term recovery needs
- American Red Cross
- Salvation Army
- If you choose to donate to other organizations, please do your research to determine their reputation and effectiveness
Finally, it was reported to me during my phone calls on Saturday that some congregations in the affected area were in the middle of their Good Friday services when the sirens went off. Some of the pastors took their members to safer areas than the worship area of their churches. Others continued the worship service without moving to a safe area. Seeing the T.V. footage of a church of another denomination that was also holding services, where the pastor and members did go to the basement, I feel compelled to encourage each of you to develop an emergency plan for such siren warnings. Seeing that church building's upper structure completely destroyed, except for the roof trusses, causes me to encourage all of you to have an immediate evacuation plan and know how to implement it quickly. If those worshippers had remained in their pews, I believe there would have been serious injuries or even deaths. Yes, tornadoes can destroy church buildings while services are being conducted.