Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

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

Anniversary

Sep 30, 2014

It seems like Hurricane Sandy is ancient history to many of us. So much has happened since October 29, 2012 that we hardly think about the unprecedented storm surge and the water flowing through streets and subway tunnels. But to many survivors, especially those who still struggle to rebuild homes and lives, the storm and its devastation is still fresh, the wounds raw. The nearly two years of waiting and pleading for recovery assistance have not brought healing yet. And many still suffer in silence, whether out of fear or ignorance of the resources available.

 

New Yorkers know from our experience of 9/11/2001 that disasters impact us not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. Anniversaries often bring back feelings related to the trauma, sometimes unconsciously. Sounds, tastes, sights and smells can also recall events. Survivors of Sandy continue to experience strong emotions and ask spiritual questions. The recent floods in Long Island brought new devastation to some communities and raised memories of the experience of 18 months before. In addition, feelings of frustration, despair, and abandonment grow among those whose recovery is delayed or stalled.

 

For the most part, our churches damaged in the storm have come back. They have repaired walls and replaced furniture and appliances, thanks to the generosity of neighbors and many Lutherans from around the country, including those who gave to our synod disaster relief fund. In Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island, Howard Beach, Long Beach and the Lower East Side our congregations have reopened damaged basements, social halls, and sanctuaries. In some cases the repairs have improved on what was there before the storm.

 

What is our church doing now, as we approach the second anniversary of Sandy?

Through Lutheran Disaster Response of New York (LDRNY) we continue to offer Disaster Case Management to survivors of Sandy and Irene in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Disaster Case Management (DCM) assists survivors to develop and implement a recovery plan appropriate to their needs and helps to identify resources available to achieve the goals of the plan. LDRNY is one of several organizations under the government funded DCM program administered by Catholic Charities. To date they have aided 1,444 clients through their DCM services plus another 500 referrals.

 

A few of our congregations have hosted volunteers or other Sandy workers in their churches. This act of generosity has brought assistance to many survivors who otherwise could not have moved forward in their recovery.

 

We give thanks for those who give to Lutheran Disaster Response. These gifts help survivors of disasters around the world and here in New York. LDR grants enabled Lutheran Counseling Center to offer no cost counseling to survivors in Long Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island; Lutheran Health Care provided assistance to its employees whose homes were impacted; and LDRNY will extend its top-notch DCM beyond the period of funding from the government.

 

Thank you for your prayers, your gifts and your presence.   

disaster relief
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