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.

 

Puerto Rico Hurricane Response

FEMA has set up a Warehouse in southern Florida for donations collected from military bases which will go towards the Hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico. The Warehouse, managed by Adventist Community Services DR Teams, has been in operation for about a month. Our Team led by South Central Conference is working hard to not only manage the products that are received, but continue to guide our Team Florida Conference personnel in the operation and management of the Warehouse. A few of our other Conferences are on standby for deployment. Plans are in place to include them in the Recovery effort towards the beginning of next year.

Additionally, FEMA has again requested that our services be ready for a possible Puerto Rico response, as well. Though this area is outside of our normal geographical response, the needs of those on the ground demand our knowledge, skills, and expertise in providing relief to the affected communities. Currently, we have placed a team on standby and await the request in the coming days. 

Click Here to view the news clip by the FOX/CBS crew.

Columbia Union Conference Prepares Buckets for Islands

Volunteers from the Chesapeake, Potomac, and the Allegheny East Conference joined together in Coatesville, Pennsylvania to pack flood buckets for the Hurricane Maria survivors in the Islands. Along with the Rotary, YMCA, and the local African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, they prepared a total of 1,616 super-packed buckets of supplies for household cleaning, dishes and laundry including heavy duty trash bags, mask, gloves, clotheslines, clothespins, and etc.

The prepared flood buckets were then taken to Baltimore and placed on a rail to Miami. The Inter-American Division retrieved them and placed them on smaller vessels to be shipped to the Islands based on assessments of volunteers on the various Islands. Before the buckets were ready for delivery, they were opened and thoroughly inspected. The volunteers had to go through a strenuous task of sorting packed buckets that had bleach in order to remove them since they made the load hazardous. They were able to retrieve 90 bottles of bleach. Forklifts and drivers were also donated by the Columbia Union Conference.

The NAD ACS DR Director, W. Derrick Lea, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Columbia Union ACS DR Teams for connecting with the Inter-American Division and carrying out this project in a commendable fashion.

 

 

New Braunfels Pathfinders Respond to Harvey

The Pathfinder Club of the New Braunfels SDA Church in Texas, "Ambassadors for Christ", participated in community outreach for the Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief. A group of nine pathfinders helped out at the Multi-Agency Warehouse managed by Adventist Community Services in San Antonio on Sunday, October 1. They were divided into two groups. One group was in charge of sorting the personal Care Package items by putting each individual item into a large box of the same item category. By the time they were done, they had around 25 different boxes of individual items, all labeled and ready to be distributed. Another group opened up boxes of new underwear for boys and girls and packaged them in smaller boxes of six. They taped up the boxes, labeled each of them with a special code number, and loaded them on a pallet. 

This enthusiastic bunch of volunteers had been looking forward to an entire day of work; however, they were able to finish the tasks assigned to them in just three hours. "We were prepared to stay all day but the jobs we were doing were completed. We are hoping to go back and help," said Debbie Edmiston, Director of "Ambassadors for Christ". And, sure enough, they continue to volunteer their dedicated time and efforts on Sundays at the San Antonio Warehouse. We sincerely appreciate these young people who are setting an example for other children to be involved in community outreach.

This Pathfinder Club was started in 2005 with the intention of reaching out to the young people from the surrounding neighborhoods to give them a positive avenue in life. One of the ways they were able to do that was to have their Pathfinders invite their non-Adventist friends or cousins. Vacation Bible School also played a significant role in getting children to join the Club. Debbie stated, "The Lord has blessed our Club through the years in many ways. And the Lord is still blessing us with boys and girls from our church and from the surrounding neighborhoods to this present day!". 

 

FEMA Assistance for Harvey, Irma, and Maria

If you or your family and friends have been impacted by the hurricanes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers resources to help with recovery. Registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance.

Visit the Hurricane HarveyIrma, or Maria pages for trusted recovery information.

To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.

NVOAD is coordinating closely with the Puerto Rico Governor’s Office on offers of assistance. To make a cash donation directly to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, visit www.unitedforpuertorico.com. 

Donations for the US Virgin Islands can be made to https://www.usvirecovery.org.