ACS Responds to Midwest Disasters

The recent February rains and melting snow in the Midwest has caused widespread flooding in several States, resulting in road closures, damage of homes and property, and even some fatalities. Evacuations have been underway in areas that were swamped by high water from the rain and melting snow runoff. Several regions in the Midwest have declared a state of emergency. The Michigan and Lake Region Conferences have been working with partner organizations and members of the community in providing food, temporary shelter, and other essential needs.

On February 24, Saturday night, an EF-2 Tornado hit the small community of Malden in Missouri State. It is a small town of under 5,000 residents located southwest of Sikeston. There were over 75 structures that were impacted with 11 homes fully destroyed and another 11 majorly damaged. The Iowa-Missouri Conference ACS Disaster Response Team is involved in the response efforts by supporting the Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC) with at least 12 ACS DR Ambassadors providing guidance and emotional support to impacted residents at the Center. ACS Volunteers from the surrounding communities of Cape Gerardo, Popular Bluff, and Sikeston, along with others from St. Louis are also providing assistance to the survivors.


N2N Assists Michigan Flood Survivors

The Berrien community in Michigan, as well as its neighboring communities, were seen either in need or helping those in need post the devastating floods that occurred recently. Several organizations and faith-based groups, including The American Red Cross, were on the scene assisting the survivors with shelter and food.

The Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Center, a ministry of ACS located in Berrien Springs, has also opened its doors to assist those affected by the floods. They have been providing supper daily and are gearing up to feed cooked meals for those who still need assistance. Laura Meyer, Executive Director, states that as of March 3, they served over 75 families and some are coming back multiple times as per their needs. The Center is also providing clothing, shoes, food, toiletries, toys for children, blankets, sheets, a new pillow and set of towels per family member. In addition, more than 25 flood buckets were distributed to help with clean up. An Emotional and Spiritual Care counseling session was also offered last week.

The Michigan Conference has partnered with the Village Church, who is hosting as a shelter and using Michigan Conference shower trailers set up in the parking lot. Survivors are not allowed to go back to their homes until an assessment has been done for safety reasons. Once approved, Michigan ACS DR Team and volunteers will work with the Southern Baptist Church for cleanup (removal of mud, muck, silt, etc.). Diana Bruch, Michigan Conference ACS Director, said “We traditionally help those who can’t help themselves after a disaster and we are intending to muckout the basement of any physically challenged and elderly victims who need our assistance." Those who are in need of help, please contact the N2N Center at (269) 471-7411 or visit their website.


ACS Responds to Florida Shooting

The SDA Church has been a resource to the community at large in the wake of the recent Florida school shooting tragedy in Parkland that occurred on February 14. We have held vigils at some of the churches in the area and also have been able to offer support from the NAD. W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS DR Director, has been in contact with the Florida and Southeastern Regional Conference ACS DR directors to discuss a plan as to how we can render assistance to the affected community in this critical time. The plan calls for two stages: First, we would look for ways to be of benefit to the community; and second, we would concentrate on supporting some of our church members who were directly impacted by the tragic event. 

There is a growing need for individuals who are credentialed to work in such environments. We discussed with Florida Hospital which has a Chaplaincy program about the need onsite and they agreed to partner with us in the Recovery efforts. We also connected with a few local Pastors who had reached out to some of those that were present at the school on the day of the shooting. The pastors informed us of the ordeal that some of their church members are experiencing. Currently, we are in the process of getting a Team together by identifying local Adventist counselors who would be willing to provide Emotional & Spiritual Care to those affected.

Below are some helpful tips on how you and your children can cope with trauma in the aftermath of a shooting incident:……


Special Acknowledgement - Everlean Williams

Everlean Williams, one of our long-time Community Services volunteers, passed away on February 15, 2018 at age 101. Mrs. Williams was one of the pioneers of Dorcas Ministry/Community Services who has contributed over 60 years of service to God and humanity. Her love of service and commitment to community began during her working years and has continued during her retirement. 

She was actively involved in helping the sick and needy through food and clothes distribution, cash donations, hospital visits, and witnessing to many about the good news of salvation. She also assisted with the Soup Kitchen preparing healthy meals for the community. In addition, Mrs. Williams dedicated her time to older adult programs and children's groups. She volunteered at the Westside Senior Day Center and Bethel Community Senior Citizens' Center providing assistance with activity and meal programs. She also volunteered at the Sharon Junior Academy and Clark Street School tutoring children and helping with school programs. As a "substitute grandma" she served as a role model for young African American girls.

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Mrs. Williams has received many awards during her years of service to the community. She was recognized by the SDA Lake Region Conference Chicagoland Community Services Federation, as well as her home church Sharon SDA Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "My sister in Christ truly loved our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and she loved serving his People! Her greatest desire is to be saved and help her family and others to be saved," said Donnie M. Williams, Chicagoland ACS Federation Liaison.

Mrs. Williams believed that a vision for a better world is made possible by volunteering in all places for as long as you can. All of this is even more commendable as she entirely depended on public transportation to meet her numerous volunteer commitments.

Let us keep the Williams family in our thoughts and prayers!


Thomas Fire Ravages Southern California

The State of California has lately been experiencing massive wildfires in the southern region. Two deaths have been reported out of which one was a firefighter. Over 200,000 people had evacuated their areas last week. The devastating fires also resulted in heavy damage of homes, cattle, and property. President Trump has declared an emergency in California and ordered additional federal aid to coordinate the relief efforts. 

We have been in contact with the ACS Disaster Response Coordinator for the Pacific Union Conference, Charlene Sargent, since the Thomas Fire began. The ACS Disaster Response Teams are on standby until the fires are better contained. We are staying abreast of the situation in California and looking for additional ways we can help the community during their time of need.

Here’s what to do when you’re preparing to evacuate.