Early Response Team Needs

Response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

Update 9/22 -

The Conferences affected by Hurricane Harvey were the Rio Texas Conference, the Texas Conference, and the Louisiana Conference.  The Conferences affected by Hurricane Irma were the Florida Conference and the South Georgia Conference. Please see their websites for current information about who is allowed to volunteer and how you should register your team.  In some cases you may register as an individual or as a team.  In addition many of the Caribbean islands were devastated by both Irma and Maria.  We have yet to hear from our partners there about when it would be appropriate to send teams to help.  Please understand that sometimes this can take weeks.  DO NOT just show up.  Wait until the conferences and their leaders issue an invitation and then go through the processes that they put in place to manage volunteers.

If your Early Response Team certification has expired, you can be re-certified through an online refresher course with the permission of your Annual Conference Disaster Response Coordinator.  Your Annual Conference may also be offering in-person ERT Basic and Recertification courses in the coming weeks to help you prepare.

If you are not ERT certified, please understand that it may be weeks before these Conferences will seek to deploy long-term recovery teams.  Please be patient.  

As you prepare to volunteer, there are several things you can do:

  • Donate through the Advance to UMCOR, US Disaster Response #901670 or to Material Resources Support #901440.  This is the quickest way to get support to people in the affected areas.  And 100% of your donation goes straight to its intended purpose.  The UMC covers all administrative costs and overhead through collections on UMCOR Sunday.  DO NOT send clothing or materials that were not requested!
  • Put together relief supply kits like Cleaning Kits (formerly known as "flood buckets") or Hygiene Kits or School Kits.  Information and videos can be found here.  The fastest way for these to reach Texas and Louisiana is to deliver them to Mission Central (Mechanicsburg, PA) or Eastbrook Mission Barn (New Castle, PA).  Kits are verified and regular deliveries are made to Louisiana from these locations.
  • Pray for those affected who have lost homes, livelihoods, and loved ones.  Pray for those who are risking their own lives as first responders.  Pray for the churches opening their doors as shelters and cooling centers.  Pray for FEMA and UMCOR and all of those coordinating the response.  Pray.
  • Use the Connecting Neighbors curriculum from UMCOR and your Annual Conference's Disaster Preparedness Plan to help your family, your congregation, and your community prepare for the next disaster in your area.  
  • Get training as an Early Response Team member so that you are prepared to deploy when the next disaster strikes.  Contact your Annual Conference Disaster Response Coordinator for information about the next scheduled class.  If you are already an ERT, make sure your badge and certification are current.  Take a recertification class if necessary.
  • Volunteer at one of the ongoing Long-Term Recovery sites in our area (listed above).  Often the newest disaster gets all of the attention, while the ongoing work from the 2016 floods in West Virginia or 2012 Superstorm Sandy are neglected.  There's still work to do while you wait to respond to the news!


Ongoing Long-Term Disaster Response Efforts

In the Northeastern Jurisdiction

West Virginia

(UMVIM and UMCOR are working with Volunteer West Virginia during the recovery.  Donations can be made through the United Methodist Foundation of the West Virginia Annual Conference at WV-VOAD Disaster Recovery Fund.  Also stay up to date on the latest developments through our Facebook Page at NEJ UMVIM.)

You will find an attached form that each team/individual is asked to fill out and send back to the Disaster Response Team. After your form is received you will be contacted and scheduled for a time and location of service.

Forms should be submitted to:

Rev. Dave Stilgenbauer


(304) 210-6938

Hurricane Sandy Recovery in New Jersey through A Future With Hope

A Future With Hope is still working what remains of a $3.16 million grant from UMCOR to continue recovery from the 2012 Hurricane Sandy.  There are many homes in Atlantic County that are still in need of volunteer teams.  In many cases these are people who were swindled by contractors in the immediate aftermath of the storm and have now recovered their funds.  The more teams, the further the grant money stretches and the more families we can help!  Register here or join one of our existing teams.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery in New York

The NYAC Sandy Recovery ministry is still looking for "Done in a Day" teams to complete projects in Connecticut and in Brooklyn/Queens. If you are interested please contact Gina Grubbs, Volunteer Coordinator at sandyrecovery@nyac-umc.com, or Tom Vencuss at tvencuss@nyac.com.  There is also a great need for rental assistance / mortgage assistance for those still displaced from their homes.

Western PA Flood Recovery

The Connellsville Flood Recovery Center still has active cases that they are working with in the aftermath of flooding in late August 2016. Additionally, there was flooding in many counties in southwest PA in early August 2017.  Many of those homes will need volunteer assistance to do repair and rebuild work. Housing and hospitality for teams wishing to serve for multiple days up to one week is available though one day teams have been the most common practice. Some teams, such as one from Latrobe UMC, serve once a month! Volunteers can register online at https://connellsvillevolunteers.org/2016/09/08/how-to-volunteer/ or email volunteer@wpaumc.org. We expect to be scheduling volunteers for Connellsville through September 2017 and for other affected areas thereafter. 

Outside the Northeast

Check out this map of active Long-Term Recovery sites around the U.S. and click the pins on the map to find more information on how to volunteer.