Al Miller, Director of Disaster Ministries, challenged conference attendees to be united in response to natural disasters. The North Carolina United Methodist Disaster Response Ministry consists of eight disaster response centers and five satellite housing centers. Through training programs and partnerships, the Disaster Response Ministry has completed 847 homes needing repairs since Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
Disaster Response training programs aim to prepare and rebuild communities affected by natural disasters. Early Response Teams (ERT) work to repair structural damages in homes. In the last three years, 50 churches out of 700 have held ERT training, certifying 914 people. The Connecting Neighbors program prepares congregation members, churches, and communities for natural disasters.
Teams have come to North Carolina from 35 other states to help. 18,000 volunteers have volunteered 599,000 hours equating to $14M worth of labor. 13,000 homeowners are still waiting for assistance after Hurricane Florence. The communities’ needs for help has grown and so has the need for volunteers.
Becoming united in disaster response will help repair the homes on the wait-list. Over 200 North Carolina churches have responded with the assistance of 332 teams across the country. We are so thankful for the partnerships we have developed with other relief groups, particularly with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and state organizations. UMCOR has contributed $7.8M to NC Conference disaster recovery ministry, the largest grant given across the connection. Through the funding and volunteer efforts, the Disaster Response Ministry restores hope to families who thought they were abandoned. How will you use your gifts to restore hope in others? Will you earn a green disaster ministry shirt?