"Floods, Fires and Hurricanes"

Wild storms and rampaging fires besiege our own country and the world.  Those who are dealing with disasters directly are overwhelmed either with preparing for coming storms or fires or cleaning up and recovering from current and past storms and fires. Those safe from disasters are also overwhelmed by images of destruction and loss and wonder how to respond to so much tragedy.

This is important: We must not let the enormity of tragedy cause us to throw up our hands and do nothing.  We can acknowledge the tragedy affecting people and let them know we are holding them in prayer.  Many of those experiencing hurricanes and disasters may feel that they are being ignored and abandoned.  Just knowing that they are not alone – and that you and your congregation are praying – can make a big difference.

The best way to help is to give to Lutheran Disaster Response.  Lutheran Disaster Response partners with local organizations to meet both immediate and long-term needs.  The saying is true for Lutheran Disaster Response: “We’ll be the last to leave.”

Know this: 100% of your gifts go to disaster relief.  You can designate your gift for a particular disaster or have it designated for what is needed most.  Give through your congregation and find Lutheran Disaster Response at elca.org for your contribution.

Unless you have a specific request from an organization ON THE SCENE, PLEASE DO NOT SEND MATERIAL ITEMS.  There is no capacity to store the items and if material things have not been requested, they are not needed. When unsolicited materials are sent, they become a burden, as victims and volunteers must arrange to either store them or haul away unwanted items.

I recall a disaster from nearly 20 years ago. A truck arrived in June in the area of the disaster and dumped off winter coats.  “We had to pay to have all those coats taken away,” a disaster worker recalls.

Information will be posted on the websites of the synods directly affected by hurricanes, massive storms, and fires. As long-term relief efforts are organized, information will be provided through both Lutheran Disaster Response and the synods.

Don’t throw away your work boots and tool belt yet. You may need them as a volunteer in the coming months.

The Rev. Lowell G. Almen Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America