West Virginia Floods Update

Our support and assistance for the West Virginia Disaster Relief efforts have been commended by the State Representative who spoke in a complementary fashion about the work of Adventist Community Services. Our current Disaster Response Team is scheduled to leave on July 22nd and another Conference which will be arriving next week, will take over as the Management Team on the ground. 

The ACS Crisis Care Team has also started serving the community out of the Disaster Resource Center (DRC) in West Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Unlike last week when our team worked in partnership with the Red Cross, the team members are currently working in concert with the Council of Churches operating in the State. The Crisis Care team will accompany Emergency Management as they speak with those affected by the Floods both in the DRC and in their neighborhoods. They have found having a person qualified to handle these type of situations is beneficial, and such type of requests will continue as the Disaster Response Community looks for ways to effectively communicate with the Public.

West Virginia Floods Update - July 5, 2016

While the Recovery efforts post-flooding have just begun in West Virginia, the NAD ACS Disaster Response Team has been able to accomplish the following:
1. Worked with the State to obtain a facility for the Warehouse.
2. Provided assistance to a local community in the recovery through clean-up activities.
3. Included our Crisis Care Team in the list of Spiritual Care providers for those affected.
4. Partnered with the American Red Cross to provide opportunity for Crisis Care workers to render care.
5. Negotiated a partnership with Pathway to Health leadership to use our Crisis Care group during their event in mid-July.

In addition to these services, the Disaster Response Team is in connection with the citizens of Rainelle that belong to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, who worked tirelessly to assist helping in the Recovery. There are also plans to discuss with Pathway to Health Lead Dr. Lela, in reference to securing a place within the Clinic that will be operational next week in another part of the state.  She has expressed her desire to partner with some of our Crisis Care workers in delivering Spiritual Care to those that come for dental services in the Clinic. 

Though the Recovery work will go on for many weeks, those of us from out of the area will only be rendering physical assistance for a limited time. The local community will ultimately take over these tasks in total in a relatively short period of time, and we will determine how we might continue to carry on these efforts.  Both the South Central and Allegany East Conference will continue with their efforts, and the Potomac and Chesapeake Conferences have positioned themselves to aid these efforts in the near future. 

ACS in Action to Help West Virginia Flood Victims

On Wednesday, June 29, the warehouse at Belle in West Virginia started its operations early in the morning. Loads of items were delivered from within the region and country in a seamless manner. Around mid-day, the Management Team from Tennessee arrived on the scene and immediately got to work setting processes in place to ensure the warehouse was running effectively. 

Donated goods awaiting distribution at Belle, West Virginia Warehouse (Photo: Mountain View Conference)

Donated goods awaiting distribution at Belle, West Virginia Warehouse (Photo: Mountain View Conference)

The Greater New York Conference ACS has also expressed their desire to help communities in West Virginia recover from the disaster. A small town, Rainelle, had been severely affected by the storms of last week and was receiving very little help. Our Disaster Response staff headed to Rainelle to assess the people's needs. Upon arrival, they found household items, furniture, and etc. piled up along the sidewalks of the town. A free cafe was set up to feed the local community. They also came across homes and churches that had been covered in water. After discussing what they had witnessed that day, they came up with various strategies of how they might be of assistance to them in a tangible way.

ACS Responds to West Virginia Flood Situation

The major flooding in West Virginia over the past weekend has put the state under a disaster declaration by President Obama. The floods have claimed the lives of over two dozen people and destroyed hundreds of homes and property. Several counties in Western and Southwestern Virginia have also been affected by these historic floods. The Mountain View Conference ACS Director is in contact with our Columbia Union ACS DR Coordinator, who is communicating with several of the other nearby conference Disaster Response leaders.

At the request of the state government, the Mountain View Conference ACS is currently not accepting volunteers and donated goods. The donations warehouse for goods and other items is being coordinated. Many areas are still inundated, and search and rescue mission efforts are in process. However, the Mountain View Conference is accepting monetary donations which can be provided to assist in their response.

The donations can be sent to:
Mountain View Conference
1400 Liberty Street
Parkesburg, WV 26101

Let us continue to pray for those who are affected and for our ACS volunteers, as they continue to serve those in need.

Update - June 28, 2016

W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS Disaster Response Director, is in communication with Larry Murphy, Mountain View Conference ACS Director, and Minnie McNeil, Columbia Union Director, to identify the assistance they could offer to those affected. The Southern Union was approached to arrange a team for managing the warehouse. The Tennessee Warehouse Team has agreed to arrive in West Virginia on Wednesday, June 29. We are also in touch with our Crisis Care Lead, Martin Feldbush, about establishing a team to assist with the Spiritual Care needs the community is experiencing. This is going to be a long term recovery process, and so the Management Team will start plans of training and outfitting a local team before mid-July. 

ACS DR Team Renders Support to Orlando Victims

The NAD ACS Disaster Response Team is currently in Orlando to assist the conference and local leaders on how to best help the community coping in the aftermath of the mass shooting tragedy. W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS DR director, has reached out to various conferences and organizations such as the Florida Conference, Southeastern Conference, Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to discuss the possible need for Crisis Care within the local community.

They identified local pastors, Crisis Care members, and possible partners in the local area, who could render support and assistance in their endeavors. Some of the partner organizations include American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and United Way. Their joined efforts produced a team of 15 individuals who were willing to serve as spiritual care providers for the recovery efforts. A number of activities are currently taking place by various churches, which include prayer vigils, blood drives, the offer to host funerals by several central Florida Adventist churches, and churches being open for the public to come and talk. 

On the morning of June 15th, ACS Disaster Response, along with six crisis care workers/pastors, visited families that had members being treated at the Florida hospital. They were also able to speak with the patients and provide them care and counseling, for which they were truly grateful. The staff was so touched by the impact they had on the patients and families that they were asked to offer prayers at a prayer vigil given for the entire hospital.  

Let us remember those who have been affected by this tragedy, and those who continue to lend their service to them.

Alberta Wildfire Donation Centre Appeals for Basic Items

The Alberta Wildfire Donations Centre, located in west Edmonton, is filling up with more than 2,000 pallets stacked with goods that people are donating to residents of Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in the aftermath of last month's massive wildfires. A partnership was announced between the regional municipality, the Alberta government, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, to manage the outpouring of donated goods from across the country.

The relief agency will receive, sort, store, catalogue and distribute material donations. It will also develop a strategy to work with other non-profits and community groups to co-ordinate collection and distribution of donations across the province. In addition to donated goods, the centre also appeals for volunteers to help sort donations to prepare for shipping to Fort McMurray and other communities. 

The top 10 needed items at the Alberta Wildfire Donations Centre are:

  • Canned meat (turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon, ham and corned beef)
  • Peanut butter
  • Baby food and formula
  • New baby bottles
  • New pillows
  • New towels
  • Basic first aid kits 
  • Children’s shoes
  • Sanitary wipes 
  • Water

For more information about donating or volunteering, please click here.


Wildfire in Alberta, Canada

UPDATE: May 18, 2016

ADRA Canada & Adventist Community Services teams have been busy working with a number of local church leaders. The Edmonton South SDA Church is the primary responder in Edmonton and they collected items from around the city which was delivered to those affected by the wild fires.

The teams also met with the students at the Chinook Winds Academy in Calgary and thanked them for all their help with donations and support of their neighbors who are experiencing crisis. The Galgary Bridgeland SDA Church donated supplies for the survivors.

The operation of a warehouse should be finalized today. The warehouse will hold the donated goods that will be made available to groups that run Emergency Distribution Centers that provides the items to meet the immediate needs of individuals and families.

Please continue to pray for the personnel and volunteers as they continue to serve and help those affected. 

May 6, 2016

ADRA Canada and the Alberta Conference Adventist Community Services (ACS) are offering assistance to those affected by the Fort McMurray fires. ADRA Canada and the Alberta Conference ACS joined together a few years ago to purchase a disaster response vehicle/trailer. That vehicle has been filled with supplies which will be delivered to those affected by this disaster. Local Alberta Conference churches will be providing volunteers. Local families have also opened their homes to the displaced. ADRA Canada has also partnered with GlobalMedic to send hygiene kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and a towel to 2,000 people. Assistance from the Alberta Conference ACS and ADRA Canada will continue in the upcoming days.” 

 "We have received confirmation from individuals who were able to drive by the Fort McMurray Seventh-day Adventist Church that it appears to be intact.  We continue to monitor reports regarding the well being of our Adventist families in the community and the condition of their homes. We will share more information when it is available." - Lyle Notice, ADRA/Adventist Community Services Disaster Response Alberta Conference

Here are some quick points.

·      The fire is still raging in Fort McMurray
·      88,000 people have been evacuated
·      Many residents have lost homes
·      Most residents have been evacuated and have been relocated to the city of Edmonton, with several hundred more displaced victims being directed there later today.
·      There is a reception center in place at Northlands
·      Edmonton South Church has also opened up its doors to displaced victims and are hosting several families
·      As for our immediate response the ADRA Trailer will be headed with several volunteers to Northlands and Edmonton South Church today to drop off care kits, sleeping bags, pillows and water
·      Northlands Reception Center will be heavily in need of pillows, bedding/sleeping bags, baby formula care kits. If you have any of these items please direct them to the Edmonton South Church
·      ADRA and Alberta Adventist Community Services will be more heavily involved with many volunteers in the Short Term Post Disaster Recovery Phase, this will be several days after the fire has stopped and it is safe to enter the disaster zone.

To financially support the relief efforts in Fort McMurray through the Adventist church you may do so using the following options:
Option #1: Adventist Giving
Donate using Adventist Giving: www.albertaadventist.ca/online-giving.  Designate funds to: AB Disaster Relief

Option #2: ADRA Canada
Visit www.adra.ca and donate online.

Please pray for all the displaced people and families along with the relief personnel  and volunteers.

ACS Mobile Unit Respond to Flooding in Louisiana

May 02, 2016 - Update

The ARKLA Adventist Community Services (ACS) Mobile Unit has been going out almost every weekend since the floods began in March of this year. There are over 35.000 families affected by this crisis. Dedicated volunteers have been distributing school kits, personal care kits, blankets, food boxes and clean up kits to survivors. On April 25, a multi-agency warehouse was open in Monroe, LA, to serve a 12 parish region. This area has been flooded four times already since the flooding occurred. On April 29, the team was in Amite, LA, serving over 100 families. For more information: contact acshelp4u@yahoo.com

Metairie Spanish Pathfinder Club help unload Mobile Unit

Metairie Spanish Pathfinder Club help unload Mobile Unit

March 23, 2016 - Update

The ARKLA Adventist Community Services  mobile unit is going out this weekend.   The team will be distributing blankets, personal care kits, clean-up kits and food boxes will be in two locations in southern Louisiana- Franklinton and Bogalusa - where 550 homes damages. 

March 19, 2016 - Arkansas-Louisiana Area

Adventist Community Services Disaster Response has been asked to bring in a mobile unit to serve areas where survivors can't get supplies. Besides the families that are displaced, there are 3,500 to 4,500 homes that have been damaged with a couple of inches to several feet of water. 

The ACS Disaster Response have been busy checking out the areas the state has asked us to set up our mobile unit to pass out food, clothes, flood buckets, etc. 

Rescuing and evacuations are on-going and waiting for water to recede in the areas hardest hit with flood waters.  There are families still in shelters waiting to go home. More rain is expected later this week and next week.

Items are needed for the mobile unit. Looking to help?  Monitory donation to the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference office ear-mark ARKLA ACS DR. 

Report by: Lavida Whitson, ARK-LA Adventist Community Services Director

REACH Columbia Union Urban Evangelism School

Apply today for this life-changing, urban ministry adventure. REACH Columbia Union Urban Evangelism School is a practical opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the city of Philadelphia, while receiving college credit. Spots are limited, scholarships available. This One-Year Program starts June 2016, apply now!  Go to: www.reachcolumbiaunion.org. 

This is a unique opportunity that will expose students to creative ways of following Jesus and getting involved in ministry, as well as earning college credit. Encourage your young adults to apply today so they won't miss out on this life-changing opportunity!

9.5 Tons of Supplies Provided for Ecuador Earthquake

Over 40 dedicated volunteers with the Adventist Community Services of Queens Spanish, which is based in Corona, Queens, have organized the community to donate and help box supplies to send to Ecuador. So far they have collected about six tons of food, one ton of dry pet food, and over 600 cases of water.

Click here to see more information