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The devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still on everyone’s mind, but long after the storm passes and the headlines change, Lutheran Disaster Response volunteers will arrive with a focus on long-term recovery.
In just a few weeks, the local Lutheran Disaster Response affiliate – the Lower Susquehanna Synod Lutheran Disaster Response Task Force – will coordinate one final disaster response trip to New Jersey, five years after Super Storm Sandy ravaged the East Coast. Then, they’ll turn their sights toward providing on-going assistance to the south.
“From its inception, Lutheran Disaster Response made a commitment to the long-haul,” said the Rev. Glenn Beard, Jr., Coordinator of the Lower Susquehanna Synod Lutheran Disaster Response Network, formed in 2001. Rev. Beard is the Director of Church Relations & Pastoral Care for Luthercare, the social services agency for Lancaster and Lebanon Counties and fulfills his responsibility with the Lutheran Disaster Response Network through the generosity of Luthercare’s commitment to helping those affected by disasters.
The LDR Network provides support in several ways: recruiting and coordinating volunteer teams who help clean up and rebuild; case management; construction estimation; and emotional and spiritual support. Volunteers work in partnership with other local agencies.
LDR has an extensive history of responding to disasters, both in the United States and internationally. “We are on-site where disasters have occurred because the work that is done through Lutheran Disaster Response is indeed the very work of the church,” Rev. Beard said.
Every disaster, no matter the size or scope, is a local event and the response is rooted in the local community. LDR works to accompany communities from immediate relief through long-term recovery. This work is made possible because of generous support of this ministry through financial contributions, prayer support and direct volunteer support to our neighbors recovering from disasters.
It is because of that generosity and support that the local LDR affiliate has been able to directly touch the lives of those affected by disasters in the Gulf Coast, North Dakota, West Virginia, and New Jersey, and it is the reason why LDR, in general, has worked in so many places here at home and around the world.
Financial support is always most helpful at the initial phase of a response, Rev. Beard said. Below is a list of organizations with which you can make a donation and know that 100 percent of that donation will be used to directly support those whose lives have been disrupted by these devastating storms.
As soon as Rev. Beard receives word that the recently affected areas in Texas and Florida are ready to receive volunteers, he will make plans to go. The members of the Lower Susquehanna Synod LDR Task Force and Rev. Beard are also eager to assist any congregations interested in organizing a disaster response trip.
Luthercare is pleased to partner with LDR and support Rev. Beard’s work in this important ministry.
For more information, please contact Amy Kenn, Luthercare Communications Director, at (717) 626-1171 x 1697.