While efforts continue in varying degrees across the North American Division, since late February, Adventist Community Services (ACS) has remained active in areas affected by natural disasters in Michigan and Missouri.
Niles Michigan Flooding
Berrien County, Michigan, is still recovering from the effects of the St. Joseph River flooding, which took place February 20. Local ACS directors have shared various ways volunteers are involved.
The partnership with the local “Neighbor 2 Neighbor” (N2N) volunteer-response organization and the Michigan Conference ACS has yielded distribution services for those who lost possessions due to the damaging water. Michigan Conference ACS director Diana Burch said, “Our center N2N has opened its doors … to give assistance in the way of clothing, food, and flood buckets. Several temporary volunteers have stepped up to help with the extra load.”
Burch continued, “We have been asked to provide supper this week and are gearing up to feed a cooked meal for those who still need assistance. [Affected residents] will not be allowed to go back to their homes until an assessment has been done for safety reasons. This will take place after Sunday. Then the cleanup starts.”
Lake Region ACS director Debra Moody provided an additional update of the church’s efforts in the city of Niles, which was severely impacted by the flood. Moody said, “I am mobilizing members to prepare for participation in a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) and providing daily updates to area pastors. ACS has been asked by the county to help Red Cross to help in Niles as well.”
Those in further need of assistance or crisis counseling can call 269-471-7411.
Malden Missouri Tornado
Malden, Missouri, a town of less than 5,000 people, was hit by an EF-2 Tornado on February 24. At least 75 structures in the city’s marginalized area were impacted, including 11 homes that were completely destroyed, and 11 that were significantly damaged.
Jodi Dickault, Iowa-Missouri ACS director said, “We are engaging the response efforts by supporting MARC … with at least 12 ACSDR Ambassadors providing guidance and emotional support to impacted residents at the MARC. ASC Volunteers from the surrounding communities of Cape Gerardo, Popular Bluff, and Sikeston along with others from St. Louis will be providing support.”
Leaders of ACS are soliciting prayers for the communities still undergoing recovery. “The NAD will continue to support our teams and stay in contact over the next few days,” said W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS Disaster Response director. “As the situation changes we’ll determine how our assistance can be used as effectively as possible.”