Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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March 2013 Archive for Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

Disaster relief coordinator Pastor Craig Miller shares disaster relief information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Highlighting the work and the needs of the Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals

Mar 11, 2013

By Luz Figueroa, Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals

 

Following the massive destruction from Hurricane Sandy, Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals (CCMP) volunteers joined with residents of affected areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens to form the ad hoc Disaster Relief Health Impact Committee (DRHIC) to act on both the immediate and long-term impact that a disaster of this magnitude has on the health and well-being of residents already battered by the daily economic disaster of job losses and government cuts to health care programs. Volunteers and resources are urgently needed to continue our ongoing disaster relief efforts in the coming weeks and months.

 

The Church of the Holy Redeemer at 2424 Linden Blvd. has played a critical role in the DRHIC since its inception, providing a staging area for unloading, inventory and distribution of tons of donated food, bottled water, cleaning and sanitary supplies, construction materials, and other disaster relief assistance thanks to the generosity of congregations and individuals who learned of our independent, all-volunteer efforts. Members of Church of the Holy Redeemer, including Emma Speaks and Dr. Herman Ambris, have participated weekly in DRHIC’s distributions of supplies and other relief activities.

 

Since 1973, CCMP has built a free-of-charge preventive medical benefit involving volunteer physicians, dentists and other medical professionals, as a means to demonstrate that medical care can be provided regardless of ability to pay, while building a longer-term fight for comprehensive medical care as a right.

 

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, CCMP volunteers began calls and visits to check on merchants, professionals and other CCMP participants whose offices or homes were located in areas suffering the greatest devastation. As a consequence, initial DRHIC volunteer crews did visits and supply distributions to Staten Island, Coney Island, and the Rockaways. CCMP’s regular free-of-charge General Medical Sessions expanded to include disaster victims met through DRHIC community outreach who requested to see a doctor.

 

CCMP soon learned of storm and flood victims right in the neighborhood of its office in Canarsie, and Emma Speaks involved members of her own family who arranged the first distribution of supplies in Canarsie at the Bayview Community Center, on December 22. Of the 19 requests filled that day for supplies consisting of bottled water, cleaning and hygiene supplies, 13 households complained of recurring mold infestations in the Bayview Housing Units.

 

Graduate students from the Long Island University Public Health program joined DRHIC, along with students from CCNY, Hunter College, members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church and other volunteers, in door-to-door canvassing on East 101 St. in Canarsie, filling requests for emergency supplies and documenting the need for mold abatement and other home repairs.

 

CCMP and DRHIC’s disaster relief work led to an invitation to join community meetings in January called by the Deputy Borough President representing Canarsie. As a result, DRHIC has developed an information and referral relationship with other independent organizations willing to assist in repair work necessary to render homes habitable. DRHIC is also calling on the city to demand federal disaster relief accountability and for immediate allocation of the $50 billion in federal disaster relief funds in the face of the widespread mold infestation problem that some health experts indicate may pose the greatest general public health threat in the history of New York City.

 

In coming weeks, CCMP and DRHIC will be organizing health information sessions by experts on proper mold abatement procedures and will continue to canvass storm-stricken neighborhoods and conduct follow up advocacy and collection and distribution of needed supplies.

 

CCMP urgently needs volunteers to join in door-to-door canvassing, benefit casework and advocacy, driving, organizing collections of needed supplies and a variety of other activities. All volunteers received on-the-job training in all organizing skills.

 

CCMP desperately needs a donated, good-running vehicle to replace its vehicle destroyed by the storm. Funds to cover additional expenses of transportation, postage, as well as heating and maintenance of its 7-day-a-week operations at its central office are also needed. Please call 718-469-5817 if you can help or need help.


Disaster Relief Health Impact Committee Needs List

High protein canned goods and non-perishable foods: tuna, salmon, chicken, sardines, beans, brown rice, soups, whole-wheat pasta

Baby food and formula, cribs, strollers, diapers, baby wipes

Cleaning supplies

Hygiene supplies

Water resistant down coats

Water resistant, mold resistant sheet rock

Shovels

Flashlights & batteries

Tyvec hazmat suits

Personal Protective Equipment: respirator masks, suits, gloves

Electric blankets

Paper towels

Humidifiers

Washing machines and dryers

Galoshes

 
 

Ecumenical soup supper raises funds for relief

Mar 07, 2013

Southwest Brooklyn Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian parishes gather each year during Lent for a soup supper to raise awareness of local and regional need. A free-will offering is designated to support a corresponding charity. Participants come to share soup and bread donated by local shops and restaurants and to converse with members from the various Christian communities in the neighborhood.

 

The Bay Ridge soup supper tradition began in St. Anselm’s Roman Catholic Parish over ten years ago. It grew to include parishes of the local cluster, and five years ago they invited Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church to co-host the event. Our Saviour's invited other partners to join in the supper so that it became a truly ecumenical event.

 

This year, the planning committee for the soup supper chose to give the offering to support the work of disaster recovery after Hurricane Sandy. As Disaster Response Coordinator for the Metro New York Synod, I spoke to those gathered about the ongoing needs and the efforts of those who have dedicated themselves to the recovery.

 

Recognizing that the church bodies represented at the supper have all been active in disaster assistance, I emphasized that we have only begun our work. Disaster response will continue for several years before our communities will have reached a new sense of normal. I thanked the 200+ participants for their generosity in giving to support disaster relief efforts. The event raised over $2,000 that will be distributed to individuals directly affected by the storm.

 

Participating churches included Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Our Lady of Angels Parish, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Redeemer-St John’s Lutheran Church, St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, St. Anselm Parish, St. Bernadette Parish, St. Ephrem Parish, St. John’s Episcopal Parish, St. Patrick Parish, Salam Lutheran Church, Union Church of Bay Ridge, and Zion Lutheran Church.

 

Soup and bread were donated by Yellowhook Restaurant, The Family Store, New Corners Restaurant, Fortune Cookie Restaurant, Chadwick’s Restaurant, Reliable Italian Bakery, Marie Sidoti, Il Fornaretto’s, Grandma’s and Damascus Bakery. This year three individuals also donated homemade soups: Brother Michel Bettigole, O.S.F., Mr. Stephen Conforte and Ms. Danielle Nuccio.

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