“Flood Buckets” Needed to Help Flood Relief and Recovery Efforts in Louisiana

by Vance Morton*
 
As you hopefully have heard – though the lack of news coverage has been quite surprising at least on a national level – Louisiana (particularly the southern part along I-10) has been hit with an unexpected amount of rain in the last week. The storm system that arrived late last week and just parked itself for days, dumped more than four trillion gallons of water – leaving areas that hadn’t flooded in more than 100 years under water.
 
The Central Texas Conference has already gone into action to aid our sister conference.  Late Monday, Aug. 14, it was reported that the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot had completely run out of flood / cleaning buckets.  Early this morning, (Wednesday, Aug. 16) Rev. Laraine Waughtal, CTC coordinator of Disaster Response, and Terry Crain, CTC Disaster Response Task Force member and ERT, began the trek east with all of the flood buckets the conference had stored. They also crammed in as many cleaning kits and school kits as they could.  The flood buckets and cleaning/school kits will be delivered to a distribution site at the northern part of the flood zone as the water is receding there first. While there, they will liaise with local disaster relief coordinators to discover other immediate and then long-term needs. That info will be shared as soon as it is available.
 
As is the norm for the generous people of the Central Texas Conference, the CTCSC has received numerous calls and emails wanting to know ways to help.  Since this disaster is still in the early stages of clean up, there are just too many unknowns to provide a list of tangible items that will be needed. Plus, there is no place for the local relief agencies to store donations at this time. Here are some things you can do immediately.
  1. Please cover everyone with prayer.  From emergency personnel, to churches, the people who have been directly affected, families who are still trying to reach loved ones (cellphone service is still out in much of the area.  Only text is getting through), all those helping with the continued rescues and the start of recovery, etc.

  2. Please make more cleaning buckets!  Louisiana needs anything and everything you can make at this time. Flood buckets generally cost about $65 and contain basic supplies such as detergent, sponges and soap that allow flood survivors to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up. You can click here to see a list of supplies and how to build “flood” buckets. Once they have been built, please take your cleaning buckets to First United Methodist Hillsboro (315 E. Elm St. Hillsboro, TX) as this is where we store our CTC Disaster response supplies. The CTC Disaster Response team will make another run to Louisiana as soon as the cleaning buckets are ready and take them to the appropriate location. 

  3. Please do not go to Louisiana at this time. This is at the request of the Louisiana Conference as well as state officials. They need to be able to focus on what is happening right now and keep visitors, even those with the best of intentions, to a minimum at this time. 

  4. If you feel led to give financially, please give to the UMCOR advance # 901670.

“The Central Texas and Louisiana Conferences have long enjoyed a partnership of caring and sharing that exemplifies the Unite Methodist connectional system at its finest,” said Bishop Lowry. “Once again, we have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to our sister conference and I and confident that the local churches of the CTC will again go above and beyond in supporting the relief and recovery initiatives. Please continue to pray for all those affected as well as all those involved in the clean-up efforts.”
 
Please note that the only personnel welcome and needed in the flooded areas right now are local and state emergency personnel and our trained and badged Early Response Teams. (For information on how to become an ERT, visit ctcumc.org/ERTtrainings.) Please do not go to Louisiana or call the local churches offering assistance at this time.  They are stretched well beyond capacity trying to take care of their own immediate needs at this time.  However, if you do have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to call or email Laraine (817-877-5222 or laraine@ctcumc.org.)
 
*Vance is the director of Communications and IT for the Central Texas Conference.  vancemorton@ctcumc.org

 

 

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, One Week Later from Louisiana Annual Conference on Vimeo.