Southeastern States Prepare for Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew's impending arrival in the Southeastern states is preparing residents for the worst. The much talked about hurricane has already made a strong impact in and around Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. It is expected to be a historic catastrophe which currently has sustained winds of 125 miles per hour. This weather event is a Category 3 and residents up and down the east coast have been asked to stay abreast of their local conditions and evacuation routes as appropriate. 

The NAD ACS Disaster Response Team held a Gotomeeting of its Union Directors and a few affected Conference Directors that are currently on the ground in the region. An overview of the expected timeline as forecast was provided. They also outlined some of the resources that could be available to them should the need arise from FEMA, VOAD, and local Emergency Management. The Southern Union Conference gave the following report from its local teams in South Carolina and Georgia:

  • 11 Warehouses have been identified in South Carolina for use should the state need us to set them up
  • South Carolina is in full Activation at their EOC
  • South Carolina can deploy as soon as needed
  • As of 3 pm today, approximately 1,000,000 has evacuated from the coast area
  • I20/26 is one way from the coast to I77/26
  • A Reentry program is in place and will determine who gets back into evacuated area
  • Coastal Churches that might evacuate have been contacted and inland churches have offered support
  • GA team is available for deployment and can respond within 2 hours

Bill Brimner, the lead Disaster person of Florida Conference, is currently working to ensure that Florida is ready for the effects of the Hurricane. Several Unions have expressed their willingness to assist the other conferences that are/will be affected, and we’ll be the liaison to facilitate this in a smooth manner. 

Let us remember those who have already been affected by this tragic weather, and those who are on high alert as Hurricane Matthew continues to pose a threat for communities.

The official forecast track shows Hurricane Matthew approaching Florida and heading towards the east coast this week. Photo by ABC News (www.abcnews.go.com)

The official forecast track shows Hurricane Matthew approaching Florida and heading towards the east coast this week. Photo by ABC News (www.abcnews.go.com)

Gift of $15,000 for Louisiana Flood Relief

The Samaritan Center, located in Ooltewah, TN, gifted a check of $15,000 to ACS Arkansas-Louisiana for Relief Efforts following the intense historic floods in Louisiana last month. In addition to the monetary gift, a van-load of needed cleaning tools and supplies were also provided to support the ongoing clean-up efforts in the flood-affected community. The Samaritan Center put in $8,000 from its disaster relief reserve fund that was created in response to the devastating tornadoes of 2011. The remaining $7,000 were given by donors. A Big 'Thank you' goes to the many community members who supported this important initiative. Dozens of our Louisiana neighbors have the help they need, due to your kindness.

Lavida Whitson (left), ARKLA ACS Director, receives gift of $15,000 from Keith Heming (right), Operations director of the Samaritan Center.

Lavida Whitson (left), ARKLA ACS Director, receives gift of $15,000 from Keith Heming (right), Operations director of the Samaritan Center.

Adventist Community Services Convention 2016

The NAD Adventist Community Services hosted its Convention this year from September 7-10 at Gladstone, Oregon. It was co-sponsored by the North Pacific Union Conference. The event was widely attended by more than 200 community outreach leaders and volunteers from around the nation and beyond. They were blessed with uplifting music, inspirational messages, informative workshops, and also a sightseeing tour of the main attractions in the area. They also had the privilege to take a tour of the Portland Adventist Community Services Center.

Dr. Sung Kwon, Executive Director of NAD ACS, provided the initial keynote message on the first evening of the convention. Other presenters throughout the event included Bill Knott, Adventist Review editor, Zack Plantak, Professor of Religion & Ethics, Loma Linda University, and May-Ellen and Gaspar Colon, co-authors of the third quarter Sabbath School lessons. Elder Dan Jackson, NAD President, delivered the Friday evening keynote message and the Sabbath morning sermon. On Sabbath afternoon, various outreach ministries provided a short presentation on their programs and activities. 

A big 'Thank You' to all those who attended and made our Convention a success! We would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to fill out the survey below. Please provide us your suggestions and concerns as we continue planning such events in the future. Thank you for your time!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016ACSConvention

Check out photos on our Facebook page

 

Perspectives on ACS at National Mass Care Exercise

On August 22-25, the NAD Adventist Community Services led out in the National Mass Care Exercise (NMCE), which was developed by the Iowa-Missouri Conference ACS Director, Jody Dickhaut. The purpose is to simulate an actual crisis event and determine how a community would respond during a major disaster. Other NGOs that participated in this unprecedented Exercise included The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), State Emergency Management, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and etc. 

Duane Hallock, an Adventist church member, is the Regional Communications Director for the American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City, Missouri. Being an Adventist, Hallock was quite impressed to see the Church actively involved in serving communities around the nation. "I listened in as Jody Dickhaut conducted his morning briefing, and it was obvious that considerable planning and preparation had already been done. I was given renewed confidence in the ability of Adventists to respond quickly and effectively when needed," says Hallock.

Hallock added, "I always show up on the scene of a disaster and look for “my people” – those wearing red vests. When I showed up for this exercise, I noticed that wherever I looked I also saw a large number of people in golden yellow shirts. As a Seventh-day Adventist, I was filled with pride knowing that these were also “my people” – volunteers with the Adventist Community Services Disaster Response."

Hallock was not only pleased to see the work the Adventist Church is doing, but also with the relationships ACS is developing with our peer organizations. "Once during the drill, I noticed how both groups – those in yellow shirts and those in red vests – were co-mingling. Again, I was overcome with pride as I saw all of “my people” working together seamlessly to serve the humanitarian needs of our hurting world", stated Hallock.