US Disaster Recovery Programs
Episcopal Relief & Development is providing resources for church and community leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Faith-based Response to Epidemics page and read the latest press release.
LONG TERM RECOVERY PROGRAMS
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas to support communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. As part of its long-term plans, the diocese hired Jennifer Wickham to serve as Bishop’s Deputy for Disaster Recovery. In this role, she is developing a long-term disaster recovery strategy with a focus on meeting unmet needs including financial support for rebuilding supplies and assistance with child care.
Episcopal Relief & Development and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas continue to meet the urgent needs of people across the impacted region. Episcopal Relief & Development works with the diocese to support the work of congregations and church partners. To help lead recovery efforts, The Rev. Stacy Stringer, the rector of Holy Trinity Church in Dickinson, was named Director of Hurricane Recovery for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. During Hurricane Harvey, she coordinated relief efforts and provided a strong pastoral presence for vulnerable members of her congregation and the Dickinson community. The needs are still great in affected communities.
After Hurricane Maria, long-term needs assessments continue, Episcopal Relief & Development is providing support to the Diocese of Puerto Rico for food, water, medical and pastoral care, communications equipment, transportation, fuel and generators to affected residents throughout the island. Two warehouses in Ponce and Trujillo Alto serve as relief supply depots where clergy and lay leaders gather relief supplies and transport them in trucks and other vehicles to remote areas.
Episcopal Relief & Development is focusing on long-term recovery, with a specific focus on rebuilding housing without insurance, emotional care for caregivers and ongoing help with volunteer management, networking and advocacy. Episcopal Relief & Development is underwriting three new staff positions in the diocese to handle disaster preparedness, relief and recovery, including a Long-Term Recovery Director.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
On the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands initially provided cash and cash vouchers for food, water and critical supplies for several hundred people in the aftermath of the hurricanes. On Tortola and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, Episcopal Relief & Development targeted support for drinking water, tarps, plywood and nails.
Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the joint effort of the Dioceses of East Carolina and North Carolina who are working together to provide migrant and seasonal farmworkers after being displaced by Hurricane Florence in September 2018. Immediately following the storm, the Episcopal Farmworkers’ Ministry was able to identify families and camps in need and effectively distributed assistance. The community stepped up to the challenge and supported their efforts by donating money, volunteering and collecting food and other items. The Episcopal Farmworkers’ Ministry continues to work with the affected migrant communities.
This list is comprised of current programs Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting. For questions about past responses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is responding to the Sandalwood Fire with the support of Episcopal Relief & Development. The diocese will be providing gift cards to survivors. Furthermore, the Diocese of Northern California is responding to the Kincade Fire, impacting areas surrounding Nevada City and Healdsburg.
San Diego food pantries are noticing a decline in large scale food access and an increase in the number of food program participation since the onset of COVID-19. Diocesan food pantries were shopping at local stores to keep stock, which wasn’t cost efficient. In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development and leveraging the connections within the food industry through Camp Stevens, the Diocese of San Diego has created four food access points that will welcome 600 people in need on a weekly basis.
The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana is providing assistance to gig and hourly workers in Hispanic, Black and Vietnamese communities, young people and other underserved groups in response to COVID-19. With the help of Episcopal Relief & Development, the diocese will distribute food food in the West Bank neighborhood as well as the 6th, 7th and 9th wards to children, musicians, gig workers, sex trade workers and others in need.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana to provide direct assistance to individuals in central and northern Louisiana who are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent survey conducted by the United Way, 67% of respondents indicated a need for help with everyday bills and housing payments. Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the US, has been heavily impacted by COVID both financially and with a high number of cases of the disease. Through this partnership, the diocese will work with other community organizations and churches for referrals to identify people in need and offer assistance.
Episcopal Relief & Development is addressing the stigma related to seeking mental health services in rural communities in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. Rural men between the ages of 35 and 44 have triple the statewide suicide mortality rate. The stigma surrounding mental health issues is enormous in rural communities and, even in communities with adequate resources, rural individuals, especially rural men, are unlikely to reach out for help. The diocese will work in Boone and Randolph Counties will offer a mental health first aid training to individuals in the rural community who are dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Diocese of Ohio to address the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities. Through the diocese’s ministry called Feeding the Beloved Community, which leverages diocesan grown vegetable produce, pork and deep community relationships, we are able to join in on serving 800 meals per week over the summer.
Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting employees of a flooded plant in Pendleton, OR who will be without work for the next 4-6 months while their plant is being repaired. Through partnership with the Diocese of Eastern Oregon, the Church of the Redeemer in Pendleton will serve as a drop-in center 6 days a week, providing food, providing financial support to purchase goods, referrals to temporary housing and making counseling services available. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program shifted their methods and attention.
Episcopal Relief & Development is also supporting the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon as they work through Ascension School in Cove, OR to provide lunches to families with children under 18 years of age. As part of their efforts, the school is using its garden to provide produce to the local food bank.
The Rosebud Reservation is one of the poorest areas in the United States, with high unemployment, poor health care, a lack of transportation, extreme poverty and food insecurity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place orders, many members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe are not able to work, and therefore are in need of supplies. The Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota is partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development to provide gas, diapers, food and to meet other emergency needs.
In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee will be providing direct cash assistance to minority, immigrant, refugee and undocumented communities who are still recovering from the recent Nashville tornado. This distribution will be done through a network of churches, schools and nonprofits.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia provide food assistance to migrant farm, domestic and restaurant workers who have lost income due to COVID-19. Leveraging the gifts of its Latino Ministry, Spanish speaking volunteers will be distributing gift cards to local grocery stores in the South Hill, Eastern Shore, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Richmond areas of Virginia.