Monday, March 12, 2018

Area Flood Response

Many areas in Southwest Michigan experienced flooding a few weeks ago.  Water has receded, but leaving much destruction behind.  I have requested help from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. We were assigned Jan Spence, a PDA volunteer.  She connected me with Michigan VOAD, a group which coordinates volunteer responses with helping agencies.  The VOAD conference calls introduced me to MARCs (Multi Agency Response Cites), where affected families may go to receive assistance and encouragement on how to navigate the support network.   The Salvation Army hosted a MARC in Grand Rapid at the Salvation Army Center on Division Street.  The First Presbyterian Church in Niles hosted a MARC, March 9, 10 and 12.  The Presbytery of Lake Michigan has received an PDA grant of $7,500 for hiring a response coordinator and whatever is initially needed.  Tammy Stanton, an elder at First, Niles, is serving as a response coordinator in Niles.  To get involved contact her at  One practical project a church group can do is to assemble "Cleanup Buckets."  See the PDA website for instructions:

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is one of three ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency along with Self Development of People and the Presbyterian Hunger Program  supported by our One Great Hour of Sharing Offering received during Lent.  I spoke this Sunday at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portage on Sunday interpreting the mission of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.  The powerpoint I created has a script that can be used to others in your church.  It is now available on our Presbytery website.  PDA Powerpoint  The presenter's view has a script.  If the script is not accessible, please ask for it at the Presbytery Office.

One of the things I am learning is that we need to plan ahead by establishing relationships with area Emergency Managers, recruit and identify a key contact person in each congregation besides the pastor, whom the Presbytery may contact in the time of a flood or tornado.   

Here is a link to a newspaper article covering the Niles MARC:

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