Disaster Resource Team reports on long term recovery efforts
Following is an update from the Massachusetts Conference Disaster Resource Team
It has been over a year since the June 2011 tornado cut its path through central Massachusetts, and the flooding rains of Hurricane Irene re-carved river beds. Our UCC churches have been integral in the assessment, stabilization, emotional and spiritual support, and recovery efforts.
Long Term Recovery Groups have been hard at work determining the unmet needs of those impacted by the storms and connecting them with resources to help their recovery. Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRGs) are a collaboration and partnership between faith based organizations, nonprofit relief groups and state, local and federal agencies. Currently there are four LTRGs, all of which have UCC representation on them. Half of these are chaired by UCC pastors.
Our MACUCC churches have been generous in their gifts of time, effort and resources. Many churches have sent crews to help with clean up and repair. Our MACUCC sponsored a mission trip into the region this summer in which 29 participants from five churches took part. We have received donations topping $125,000.
To date we have used these funds to
- Develop a program of spiritual care and training for pastors and churches so they can more effectively reach out to the needs of their communities;
- Provide respite and recovery and care to our pastors and lay leaders as they continue their ministry at the heart of recovery efforts while also attending to their own recovery needs;
- Provide over $87,000 to the Long Term Recovery Groups to be used in their efforts to provide help and resources to clients who continue to have unmet needs after federal and state aid, donation and insurance resources run out. Normally these clients are among the most vulnerable members of the community;
- Sponsor the mission trip into the region
Disaster recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Our MACUCC continues to work closely and collaboratively with our impacted churches and the LTRGs in the region as they journey into that new post storm world.
We continue to be grateful and impressed by the generosity of our churches around the state and the efforts of our pastor’s and churches within the impacted area.
For the Disaster Resource Team: