Update, September 20, 2017

HURRICANE IRMA - FLORIDA

Ella, in red, with the team of World Renew DRS volunteers in front on her home in Texas.

“Hurricane Irma was a huge storm, more than 400 miles across at some points. The sheer size of the storm path makes difficult to get an accurate picture of the damage it caused,” said Eric and Nancy Johnson, regional managers for World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS).

“We don’t have initial damage estimates yet but we know there are areas that will need World Renew’s help.”...click here to read more.

 

HURRICANE HARVEY - TEXAS

Click here to meet Ella from Port Arthur. World Renew DRS volunteers are helping her and others in Port Arthur with the daunting task of cleaning up after Harvey. 

 

Church Resources

Thank you for your financial gifts and church offerings. You make World Renew DRS possible.

  • Click here for a bulletin insert that describes how your offering will be used for the Harvey and Irma responses

  • Click here for background information on our Hurricane Harvey and Irma responses.

  • At the bottom of this page are also two videos you are welcome to share in your church.

  • How/where do you send in your offerings?
    **In the memo line, or in a note with your offering check, please mark Hurricane Harvey and/or Hurricane Irma-US to indicate which response you would like to support.**

    - Donate online by clicking the green button above, or
    - In the US, mail your check to World Renew 1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508–1407,  or call 1-800-558-7972
    - In Canada, mail your check to World Renew 3475 Mainway, PO Box 5070 STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8, or call 1-800-730-3490

 

Volunteering

Click here sign up to receive the monthly Opportunity link that will alert you to the latest updates and most timely opportunities. See also worldrenew.net/volunteer for all opportunities.

To learn about the types of volunteer opportunities, visit worldrenew.net/aboutdrs.

Feel free to call 800-848-5818 or email drs@worldrenew..net with questions.

 

 

Earlier Updates

September 6, 2017 - Laying the foundation after Harvey and a message from Texas regarding donations and volunteers

Update, September 6, 2017

On Monday, September 11, I (Bob) leave for a week in and around Houston to connect with government officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other disaster response organizations, and local churches. Mark and Carol Martin, very experienced disaster response volunteers from Iowa, will be with me on the trip. They will stay an additional week to continue setting the foundation of our response.

World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) has years of experience in this work and years of working in partnership with FEMA and other organizations. Much of this trip will be reconnecting with past partners as well as meeting new people to start planning for long-term recovery.

The area affected by Hurricane Harvey is very large. One key task is to begin to define where the DRS response areas might be located. We look for underserved communities. Often these communities are outside easy access and away from the spotlight of news cameras.
One trip will not answer all the questions or complete all the work to plan for a long term response. More trips to Texas will happen. And there will be many conference calls and emails with people and organizations to keep updated. It takes time and effort to stay coordinated, but it makes for a more successful and effective ministry in the long run.

FEMA reported on September 6 that, “Response and recovery efforts continue… Long-duration flooding will significantly hamper response and recovery activities….over 135,000 homes affected…over 22,000 homes may have major damage (over 5 feet of inundation).” Those numbers are early estimates that are expected to rise.

You can imagine that with this number of homes and families affected, many volunteers will be needed in the months to come.

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A REQUEST FROM TEXAS

We at World Renew have had many generous offers of donated clothing and other items. We are grateful for your compassion! However, we have been asked not to send items to Texas. Please see the below for a message we received from the State of Texas, FEMA, and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD, of which World Renew is a member).

Important Information on Donations

The overwhelming generosity of the public is greatly appreciated, however, the influx of donated items exceeds the needs of the impacted communities at this time. Therefore, the State of Texas is asking that you please DO NOT donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time.

As we continue to receive unsolicited donations, supporting agencies must redirect staff and volunteers away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

If you have already collected items for Hurricane Harvey, please consider donating them to a nonprofit organization in your community that accepts in-kind donations, or register in-kind donations here.  If you are a company seeking to donate goods to the Hurricane Harvey efforts, please fill out the form for Corporate Donations located here. This information will be sent to the appropriate parties as needs arise.

The most effective way for individuals and private sector partners to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations. Cash donations offer voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs, as well as needs that arise over the coming months and years. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources locally which will help local economies recover.

Important Information on Volunteering

The State of Texas continues to experience flooding, and the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted areas. Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers who self-deploy may create an additional burden on impacted communities where resources for food and shelter are scarce. The State of Texas is asking potential volunteers to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas supporting survivors on the ground…

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Your financial donations today (US$/CND$) are crucial to ensure help (clean-up, assessments, home repairs) can be provided months down the road.

Please stay tuned for volunteer opportunities, not only in response to Hurricane Harvey but to past disasters that still need attention. To learn about World Renew DRS opportunities and updates as they arise, sign up for our once a month Opportunity Link email by clicking here.

Thank you for your generous support and prayers for the people affected by Harvey.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Bob Laarman

Director
World Renew Disaster Response Services

Interested in learning more about this ministry? Visit worldrenew.net/drs.

 

 

August 28, 2017 - Helping After Harvey: immediate donations, churches, volunteering, plans, etc. The last few days...

Dear friends and volunteers,

The last few days have been filled with media interviews, phone calls, emails, and updates regarding Hurricane Harvey. I would like to share a few things with you because I am sure you have questions.

  1. Yes, financial donations and your church offering designated to Hurricane Harvey are most welcome! This is a storm of incredible magnitude and we will be responding for years to come. Click here to learn more.

    As far as donating in-kind items such as clothing, water, food... after 45 years in this work, we have learned that the most efficient and effective donations are financial ones. It might not be "as exciting," but let me explain. By giving financially you are ensuring that resources are available and flexible to meet the exact needs of the people affected. By giving financially you are putting more resources to direct support rather than shipping and storing items. By giving financially you are adding to the economic recovery of Texas businesses because supplies can be purchased locally.
     

  2. Churches: A bulletin announcement with a printable bulletin insert and request for offerings is going out today or tomorrow to Christian Reformed Churches. These inserts are also available to download. Feel free to use this information in your church, no matter the denominational affiliation.
     
  3. I (Bob Laarman), along with our regional managers, will be heading to the Houston and Corpus Christie areas to start coordinating the response. We've done work in both of these cities in the not-so-distant past, so we will start with those contacts. I and others in World Renew DRS have been in contact with churches, individuals, and organizations in Texas, monitoring the situation and making plans on who to connect with during our time there.
     
  4. Volunteers: The storm is still raining and waters are still sitting so volunteers cannot go in to help with clean-up yet. You will be alerted to opportunities through the Opportunity Link. To sign up for these emails, please click here. We all want to head out right now to Texas, but please remember, they have thousands of local people to feed and shelter and they are still in the middle of the crisis. Once they are ready to host and coordinate out-of-town volunteers, we will let you know. Thank you for trusting us!

    If you or someone you know wants to volunteer to help, please consider volunteering for one of our other disaster response opportunities found at worldrenew.net/volunteer. Then, when the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey are ready for volunteers, you can volunteer again!
     

  5. We do currently have two reconstruction sites in Texas set to open in several weeks, one in San Marcos and one in Rio Grande Valley. Neither has been impacted by Harvey and both are in response to flooding from 2015. (This gives you an idea the longevity of flood response efforts.)
     
  6. Check out some media mentions of World Renew DRS:
    https://www.mnnonline.org/news/world-renew-planning-relief-efforts-hurri...
    http://woodtv.com/2017/08/28/houston-residents-still-braving-harvey/
    http://fox17online.com/2017/08/25/local-volunteers-headed-south-to-help-...

    Follow us on Facebook for ongoing updates.

Thank you for your support and please keep the people in Texas and Louisiana in your prayers.

If you have any questions, please call 800-848-5818 or email drs@worldrenew.net.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bob Laarman

Director
World Renew Disaster Response Services