US Disaster Recovery Programs
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 Wickman 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.
Immediately after the storm with support from Episcopal Relief & Development, the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida provided critical assistance to those hit hardest by Hurricane Irma, including migrant workers, homeless individuals, seniors, youth, children and families who were displaced from devastated communities.
In the weeks after the storm, St. Columba Episcopal Church housed almost 100 people in its parish hall and youth house and provided critical food and other supplies. Electricians and builders volunteered to rebuild the congregation’s homeless shelter. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Palmetto Bay served as a food and supply drop off spot for several weeks and, with support from Episcopal Relief & Development, purchased food for meals for the homeless and others in Homestead.
The Diocese of Central Florida is the epicenter of migration from Puerto Rico when thousands of people left their cities and towns to resettle in neighborhoods around Orlando following Hurricane Maria. Through its membership with VamosPR, the diocese partners with 40 local community organizations to raise its visibility and resources. The diocese centralized its relief efforts by expanding the food pantry at Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret (Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth). Temporary housing is also being provided by the diocese and long-term needs of the community continue to be assessed.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael, Episcopal Relief & Development offered support to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast in order to provide temporary power, tree removal services and supporting grounds clean up to impacted areas. After a period of disernment, the diocese has established a long-term recovery plan encompassing counseling to storm affected individuals, the set up of volunteer housing facilities and pastoral care disaster training for clergy members.
After Hurricane Maria, long-term needs assessments continue, Episcopal Relief & Development is providing support to the Dicoese 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. 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. Supporters from the Triangle set up a Facebook page to coordinate efforts and get donations: Farmworker Solidarity Project. The Episcopal Farmworkers’ Ministry continues to work with the affected migrant communities.
Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the flooding relief and recovery efforts of the Diocese of Arkansas. The organization is helping the diocese to provide emergency support to low income families, children, elderly and people with special needs living in the four main counties impacted by the recent widespread flooding in the central US. The support will come in the form of financial assistance to purchase clothing, bedding, home repair supplies, gas for vehicles as well as utility and rent assistance.