April showers were supposed to just bring May flowers, right? Somehow Missouri’s weather didn’t touch base with that old adage this year.
The flooding that began earlier this spring has continued unabated and increased in intensity, and in the latter half of May devastating tornadoes hit the region as well.
Many of you either know of someone directly impacted by these weather events or are personally impacted by them. And all of us are aware, through news reports, of the on-going impacts on individuals and communities throughout our diocese and beyond. We hold all those affected in our prayers.
Soon after the events began, we also began to ask the very practical question, “how can we help?” Your recently-appointed diocesan Disaster Relief Co-Coordinators, the Rev. Maria Evans and Janet Thompson, have been working with Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) to ascertain how grant assistance from ERD can be deployed within the diocese.
Please consider how ERD’s funding can be a part of your congregational efforts to help those in need in your community. For additional answers to your questions or to apply to ERD for emergency funding, please contact either Maria or Janet:
The Rev. Maria Evans: MLEvans327@gmail.com
Janet Thompson: email@example.com
Emergency Grant Information
Episcopal Relief & Development’s emergency grants should be used to fund immediate needs in the relief phase of a disaster response. We work with diocesan leadership to develop response plans across the diocese, and the diocese then works with congregations to implement the work. Episcopal Relief & Development doesn’t fund congregational projects directly. These projects should be able to be completed as soon as practicable after the funds reach the responding congregation.
Emergency funding CANNOT be used for
- Repairing church buildings
- Funding another community agency without the church being involved (pass-through)
- Projects that benefit only Episcopalians
- Long-term recovery work such as housing reconstruction
Potential Projects/Ideas for Grant Usage
- Hosting a community meal and perhaps hiring a disaster-impacted restaurant to cater the event. Maybe there can be a guest speaker to provide information about the disaster, community resources, psychological impacts, etc. Consider inviting musicians to play and/or trained listeners to talk if anyone wants to share their stories.
- Scaling up congregational food pantries or meal programs to provide more food or more days per week
- Providing gift cards for families to replace flooded belongings such as clothing or kitchen supplies or gas cards for people with longer drive times due to closed roads. These can be distributed quietly at community meals or in community walk-abouts.
- Providing clean-up and safety supplies (e.g. masks, gloves, bleach — these can often be donated from other organizations).
- Providing supplies so that people can prevent further damage to flooded properties — tarps for a roof, shovels or brooms to clean-up, tools to remove flooded carpet, etc.
- Storage units (such as PODS) so that people can store their salvageable belongings in a clean and dry place while their homes are repaired.
- Hosting respite days at the church where people can be in the air conditioning/heat, get coffee and snacks and use the church’s wifi (and maybe skilled volunteers) to apply for FEMA and other benefits.
- Security deposits for particularly vulnerable people to get into safe housing.
- Replacement of necessary belongings for homeless people who lost their camps (e.g, tents, blankets).
- Congregations should track how many people they serve each day and how you served them generally (feeding, housing, etc.).
- They do not need to gather the names of each person receiving services valued below $50 and should be mindful about the ways that asking too many questions can prevent some people from feeling comfortable accessing services (such as people without legal documentation). It might be helpful to keep names and contact information for people who particularly need follow-up or referrals if they’re comfortable sharing that information.
- Keep all receipts: itemized receipts are preferred.
- Make sure that at least two people involved in the process know where the money is going. For example, one who keeps the cash/gift cards and another who distributes them.
If you have further questions or to make an application to ERD, please contact the Diocesan Disaster Co-coordinators:
the Rev. Maria Evans at 660-216-2727 or MLEvans327@gmail.com or
Janet Thompson at 573-864-5197 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo of tornado damage in Jeff City from Jonathan Sanders, used with permission.)
*** Taken from the weekly Diocesan email, iSeek, sent out on Thursday, June 6, 2019 ***