In the face of a disaster, the human spirit (and the power of the Holy Spirit), compels us to seek a way to respond. Thank you for the many prayers and statements of support and encouragement you have sent to those already or potentially impacted by this storm. The prayers of the Body of Christ are powerful in strengthening solidarity and compassion for one another. The synod office is ready and able to assist congregations who sustain damage to their property, as well as provide pastoral care to clergy and other leaders impacted by disaster. Please be attentive to self-care during the process of disaster response.
Here are other ways you can respond, before and after the impact of the storm:
- Financial donations to the Florida-Bahamas Synod Disaster Relief fund (click on the “give now” button on the home page of our web site) will be extremely helpful. We will use funds donated to support the immediate needs of the congregations affected. These funds also allow us to support partners in the Caribbean Synod and other areas who are impacted more severely.
- Donations of gift cards to stores like WalMart, Home Depot, Lowes, Publix, etc. are helpful for material requests from congregations and leaders. Please send donations to the synod office, so we can collect them and share them with the congregations who need them. This is a great way to support the local congregation’s capacity to respond to the requests and needs in their contexts. Please send gift cards to the synod office so we can share them with the areas most in need.
- As the need for volunteers to help with recovery is clarified, we work with Florida Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (FL VOAD) to mobilize individuals and teams. You can register with Volunteer Florida, which is a partner organization that is able to coordinate a broad range of volunteers across denominations. We know there are other churches and communities deeply impacted, and will need help in recovery.
The Florida-Bahamas Synod initial disaster response works with Lutheran Disaster Response long term recovery to respond to disasters. Financial donations are the easiest and best way for people to respond – it provides us the ability to be present in the exact way needed. For example, if we hear that a part of the state needs blue tarps, using funds given to the disaster response fund, synod staff can purchase and send those tarps. These funds—to BOTH the synod disaster response fund AND Lutheran Disaster Response—allow us to be most flexible and responsive to those in need.
The urge to respond is in the immediate days and weeks following the storm, but the need for response continues over the long-term. Our recommendation is to first respond with prayers, financial donations and gift card donations.