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Ohio/West Virginia Disaster Response Ministry

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Hurricane Sandy sites ready for volunteers

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* * * * * Disaster Response News * * * * *

Interested in disaster response?  Contact us to learn more!

August 2014

Even an extended weekend work trip can make a big difference
A report from Director Jim Ditzler

Hurley family home under construction

Interior of mobile home being rebuilt for Coleman family

Two families in southern West Virginia need help completing construction on their homes.  Both families had major roof damage from the excessive snow produced by Hurricane Sandy.  On top of their housing needs, the Hurleys' 10 year old son has brain cancer, and the Colemans are raising two autistic children.

A good approach here would be an adult work crew of 3-5 workers with at least one person skilled in construction trades. Even a stay of an extended weekend could make a significant impact. There is an ongoing effort to raise enough funds to purchase all materials, so if your group is interested in making a trip, please let us know so that we can check on funding that might be available at the time of your visit.  And knowing that workers are available may help with fund-raising efforts!

Within a 30-minute drive of each house is newly-developed, secure volunteer housing which is just about the best I have ever seen.  Anyone interested in responding should contact Jim Ditzler at 330-262-3242 or jditzler26@gmail.com.  In my absence anyone seeking up-to-date details should contact Jenny Gannaway in West Virginia at jennygannaway@frontier.com or (606) 625-5921.



February 3, 2014

Church World Service Asking for School Kits

Church World Service is in need of School Kits, which give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, or other difficult settings some of the basic tools for learning.

There are enough kits for immediate needs, but they will be running short within a few months.

Click the link below to learn how to assemble a school kit.




December 3, 2013

Terry Tangeman and Mud-Out Trailer Recognized for Flood Recovery Work

The Ohio Conference Disaster Response Team and member Terry Tangeman were recognized in a recent article in the Wapakoneta Daily News for Terry’s work with the mud-out trailer after flooding damaged the one-year-old home of Mercy Unlimited, a Christian non-profit ministry in Wapakoneta. Terry arrived with the trailer’s supply of water pumps, de-humidifiers and power washers to help remove water, mud and debris from the basement and dry the surfaces so rebuilding could begin. Click link below for full article.



November 15, 2013

UCC Typhoon Response Update

The gifts of 1,029 donors have enabled the UCC to raise over $111,300 toward our $250,000 goal in just one week!  This is a UCC first!

Today the UCC is wiring additional funds to our partners on the ground in the Philippines.

Relief supplies are getting distributed!  ACT Alliance partners report:

*  Three trucks carrying 5,000 family food packs, sufficient for one week, arrived in Samar early this morning (11/15).  1,000 packets were distributed in Brgy. San Antonio, Basey, Samar today, and distribution will resume at first light tomorrow.

*  1,547 shelter repair kits are currently being distributed in Northern Cebu in the communities of Daan Bantayan, Medellin and Bogo.

A comprehensive UCC Typhoon Haiyan response webpage has been created.  Please check often for resources, updates and news from our partners.

November 13, 2013

Financial Support Is Best Response to Typhoon in Philippines
Letter from Anthony Buller, FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency

As Americans we are a generous people.  Throughout the country countless congregations and organizations are gathering things they think are needed to serve survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  Many of these kind-hearted folks will be wrong.  Fur coats and frozen lasagna are not needed in the Philippines.  What is needed?  A well-coordinated and well-resourced humanitarian response.

To be part of a well-coordinated and well-resourced humanitarian response, we turn to proven systems like the US Agency for International Development (USAID: www.usaid.gov/haiyan) and the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI: http://www.cidi.org/).  We turn to the responding agencies with experience in international disasters.  We support them smartly.  With financial support.  The two given links and this fact sheet have additional information.  At the bottom of the CIDI page, for example, are short videos that explain how to smartly respond to international disaster.

Please share the word that financial support to appropriate responding agencies is the best way to help in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). 

Thank you,

Anthony Buller, CEM

FEMA R3 Voluntary Agency Liaison



November 11, 2013

UCC Response to Typhoon Haiyan
Letter from Jim Moos, Executive Director, UCC Wider Church Ministries

Dear Colleagues:

I write to inform you of the UCC’s response to Typhoon Haiyan and invite your assistance in helping spread the word.

Xiaoling Zhu, Global Ministries Area Executive for East Asia & Pacific, and Susan Sanders, Minister for Global Sharing of Resources, have been in regular contact with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Church World Service and the ACT Alliance since last Thursday.  Here are some updates:

·  One Great Hour of Sharing initial commitments of $25,000 to the ACT Alliance and $5,000 to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines have been made.   

·  Wider Church Ministries today issued a $250,000 appeal to support Typhoon Haiyan relief and recovery activities of our partners.

·  A blast e-mail encouraging generous support of the appeal is being sent today to 60,000+ UCC members and friends.

·  News stories on Typhoon Haiyan may be found on the UC News portal.

·  The appeal and UCC response to Typhoon Haiyan will be featured in UCC weekly e-news, KYP - Keeping You Posted, on Tuesday, November 12, along with a downloadable bulletin insert for use in congregations.


Jim Moos

Executive Minister,

Wider Church Ministries



September 16, 2013

Hurricane Sandy almost 1 year later

Volunteers are needed to rebuild homes

One resident's flood story

You are needed now and for the next year in Bergen County, NJ to rebuild homes.  Sandy left the towns of Moonachie and Little Ferry under several feet of salt water for days after a 9-foot ocean surge overflowed the Hackensack River.  Almost all of the small homes in this area were damaged and residents were traumatized. 

Local organizations responded immediately to help support these communities.  Projects are ongoing to repair homes in this area.  However, most of the media focus is on the Jersey shore.  Almost a year after Sandy hit, the small inland area of Northern New Jersey is being overlooked.

This is a largely commercial area, and the residents are working class folks and/or on fixed incomes. Some people are living in their homes with mold and all.  The exterior of the houses look undamaged, but inside, they are in terrible condition. 

The coordinators of the rebuild effort, The Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), are asking for our help for at least a year.  There are simply not enough volunteers to help rebuild the more than 100 family homes on the waiting list.  Right now, there are specific jobs involving work on 16 houses that need to be completed by the end of October. 

Work Group Details

  • Work groups of 2 or more are welcome, all skill levels

  • Work as long as you would like: 2 days or more, including weekends

  • Young adults, 16 – 18 years old, are welcome with a 1:4 adult to youth ratio. 

  • The only week that is booked is the last week of October.


  • A converted duplex home that can house up to 30 volunteers at a time

  • Less than 3 miles from most of the worksites

  • 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms and bunk beds in common areas

  • Groups bring their own bedding and prepare their own meals

  • Cost:  $20 per person, per night

Register your group




Contact Judy Moore, UCC Disaster Recovery Registrar

802-299-8290 or  jmooreucc@gmail.com 


One resident's flood story

One resident explained the night of October 29 this way,

"I went outside around 11 pm to check around my property.  The wind and rain had died down so I thought we were in the clear. There were a few downed branches in my yard, but otherwise we were okay.  

I went back inside, and 15 minutes later I started to hear every car alarm on the block go off.  I stepped outside and found that about 7 feet of water had flooded our entire street.

When I opened the basement door, I found water all the way up to the third step.  I turned around and closed the door behind me and just hoped I didn't need anything down there as the entire basement was under water.  

We had to stand outside on our front steps, which are already 10 feet up from the ground, so the rescue helicopters could count how many people they had to come get. We left our water-logged home by raft a few hours later."  

Many of the residents of Little Ferry and Moonachie have similar stories. Even the local shelters they were sent to inevitably flooded,  and over 2,000 people were eventually evacuated to a shelter 20 miles away.

Description of current conditions in Bergen County, NJ from Marisa Santiago, Volunteer Coordinator, onsite at The Bergen County VOAD
(Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)

When you drive through Moonachie and Little Ferry, New Jersey, you can't tell that Hurricane Sandy devastated the area.  From the street, most houses look as they did before the storm.

Inside the homes, it's a different story. The first floors and basements have been gutted. Residents are living with mold or bare wall studs, waiting for assistance.

Almost a year after the storm, we continue to sign up new clients who are in need of help to get their homes and lives back together. Many residents thought that they would be able to handle repairs on their own, but only now are realizing the amount of work ahead of them.

Many of our clients have lived in their homes for decades. Some lost all of their possessions, and many did not have flood insurance.  FEMA's help could only take people so far into the rebuilding process, and many did not receive assistance that covered their actual repair bills.

These two working-class towns have fewer than 15,000 residents combined, and 400 of the households live in mobile home communities.

Nobody could have predicted that an ocean surge would travel 30 miles from the shore, damage and then overtake a berm on the Hackensack River, flooding several towns.

The water receded the next afternoon but left damaged homes, flooded cars and destroyed property in its wake.  The flood consisted of brackish water—salt water mixed with fresh—along with industrial pollutants, all types of debris and fish you normally find only in the ocean.  And in the months to follow we would find that mold became a pressing issue in so many of these homes.

The Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) has been involved in the area's recovery efforts since even before the storm.  Our Hurricane Sandy Long Term Recovery Committee has pledged to assist residents "until the job is done or the money is gone."

We have repaired over 400 homes in Bergen County, and there are still hundreds more to go.  Some houses have major repairs, which are estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. To stretch our donated funds, we try to use as much volunteer labor as possible.

For more information, email or call:
Judy Moore: 802-299-8290 or jmooreucc@gmail.com

To register for a mission trip:



August 6, 2013

Church World Service School, Baby Care and Cleanup Kits Urgently Needed

Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, Church World Service has a good stock of CWS Hygiene Kits. But the stock of CWS School Kits, Baby Care Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets is very low.

More materials are needed to respond to pending requests and be ready for future emergencies. Information on various kits that may be compiled and donated to CWS may be found at http://www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits.

CWS Kits are small packages of supplies assembled by volunteers and shipped to people in need around the world.  The contents of each kit have been selected with care based on years of experience to make them as useful as possible, wherever and whenever they are sent.

Kits may be sent to CWS all year.  Each kit page provides a list of items to include, along with packing and shipping information to our collection centers in New Windsor, Maryland and Little Rock, Arkansas. Some states have drop-off points at various times as well.

Cash donations in lieu of assembled kits also help us to provide much-needed supplies.

Thank you for giving from the heart!  Your continuing support of this program is very important and helps to ensure CWS Kits are available for immediate response after a disaster.

If you have any questions, read our FAQs, or call your CWS Regional Office toll-free at 888-297-2767.


June 30, 2013

Northern New Jersey ready to receive Hurricane Sandy recovery volunteers

Bergen County (Moonachie and Little Ferry), New Jersey is ready to receive volunteer work groups to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  The web link to register is below.  




June 25, 2013

FEMA Releases Emergency Guide for Houses of Worship

This guide, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides houses of worship with information about emergency operations planning for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face.  


It discusses actions that may be taken before, during, and after an incident in order to reduce the impact on property and any loss of life, and it encourages every house of worship to develop an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).  


Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship (PDF)



UCC Resource for Local Church Emergency Preparedness

There is also a resource for local churches at www.ucc.org  that is helpful in developing a disaster preparedness and response plan:





May 21, 2013

United Church of Christ Organizes Response to Tornadoes in Oklahoma

The United Church of Christ has issued an appeal for funds for assistance to the communities impacted by the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma.  Below is the web link with current information.  Please check here and on the One Great Hour of Sharing Facebook page (same information will be on both) for new information as it becomes available.  Thank you for your commitment to disaster ministries.

Web link:  http://www.ucc.org/disaster/oklahoma-tornados.html



March 2013


Hurricane Sandy recovery sites in NY and NJ are ready for volunteers

And there's a long way to go.

We are pleased to announce the opening of two opportunities for your group to participate in disaster recovery related to Hurricane Sandy.

Registration forms and information:


• Opportunities now are available in Atlantic City, NJ in partnership with the Fuller Center for Housing.  This community is ready to embark on the repair/rebuild stage of disaster recovery.  The minimum age is 16 years (with some limited projects for volunteers age 14.  Registration Information

• Northern New Jersey is ready to receive volunteers to rebuild homes

Bergen County (Moonachie and Little Ferry), New Jersey is ready to receive volunteer work groups to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  The web link to register is below.  


• Opportunities for service (and group housing) now also are available in New York City in partnership with New York Cares, with housing at a local UCC church. 

This opportunity engages volunteers in the continuing muck out/mold remediation stage of disaster recovery. Volunteers at this location will not be doing repair/rebuild. 

Also note: although disaster-related projects are assigned with priority, groups serving here also may engage in non-disaster-related volunteer projects with New York Cares.  Those particular project assignments are made one month prior to the date of service.  The minimum age for this location is 18 years.  Registration

The length of time between Hurricane Sandy's destruction in late October 2012 and today, when impacted communities still are hovering between the continuing clean-up stage of recovery and the housing repair/rebuild stage illustrates the need for the commitment to long-term disaster recovery.  The recovery process takes a long time. The sustenance of faith feeds a commitment to accompany people through the long-term process of disaster recovery.  Thank you for that commitment of faith.

We will continue to post opportunities for service here as they become available.




  Find us on Facebook!

Find out more, ask questions, join us!

Contact Team Coordinators Jim Ditzler (330-262-3242)
or George Siddall (513-228-0515) to learn more.



Did you know... ?

. . . that the Ohio Conference is one of just three organizations in the United States that assembles and distributes disaster response clean up and personal care kits.

Kit ingredient lists (PDF) - One page, easy to print

. . . that the Ohio Conference Disaster Response Ministry served as the model for the other UCC disaster response ministries?





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