by Julia Menzo, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, Liberty Lutheran Services | April 17, 2017
Liberty Lutheran’s Disaster Response-Eastern PA program serves Philadelphia as well as eighteen other counties in eastern Pennsylvania!
The traditional role of Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) has been in leading efforts to rebuild and repair homes during the months and years following major natural disasters. For example the LDR affiliate in NJ is still involved with rebuilds from Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey in 2012. Following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, here in Liberty’s LDR program, we coordinated partner agencies and volunteers to clean out basements following widespread flooding in Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.
When LDR is not responding to major disaster events like these, we are busy equipping churches to be active partners able to respond in their own communities. Churches are often the first place people turn for help when household or neighborhood emergencies like fires and power outages affect a community. Because successful long term recovery to disasters is also highly dependent on collaboration with partner organizations, LDR also plays a leadership role in SEPA VOAD (Southeastern Pennsylvania Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). Other partners in SEPA VOAD include Team Rubicon, Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Church of Christ, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, United Methodist Committee on Relief, and many more.
And finally we focus on helping families make good decisions so that they can keep their loved ones and property safe in the event of disasters ranging from power outages, to flooded basements, to extreme heat.
Tips! Disaster Preparedness for Houses of Worship:
- Identify first responders in your own congregation. Ask them how the congregation can support local emergency management.
- Build partnerships with local non-profits serving vulnerable populations by encouraging parishioners to volunteer with those groups.
- Identify those with special needs in your own congregation and vicinity of your house of worship. Check on these folks when there is a community emergency.
- Consider being a community charging or heating/cooling center in the event of a localized power outage.
To learn more about Liberty Lutheran, their role in disaster recovery, how you can volunteer your time, and how congregations can become emergency prepared, visit their website.