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 service to them.