Emergency Help Needed for Wildfire Victims and Firefighters

April 19, 2011

Wildfire Emergency UPDATE – Friday, April 22

Emergency Help Is Needed for Wildfire Victims & Firefighters
UPDATE for Friday, April 22: Thank you all for your responses to help the firefighters and victims of the wildfires in our area.  At this time we need people to hold their contributions of supplies. The supply has finally caught up with the demand and all known storehouses are full. Please continue to check back at www.ctcumc.org for updated supply needs and lists. 
 
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Update from Dr. Ginger Bassford: Approximately 147,000 acres have burned, 30+ houses are destroyed. A fire fighter told me that they are not able to get ahead of the fire. Almost all of Possum Kingdom is either on fire or in danger of fire. Evacuations are underway. Volunteers are more organized and supplies are getting where they are needed. However, more help is needed. The following is needed not only now but every day for at least the next week:
Money-so fire departments can purchase what they need.
Snack/energy bars, cookies, sandwich bags, energy drinks/sports drinks, sun block,
saline eye wash, saline nasal spray, sunglasses and/or goggles, over-the-counter pain relievers, bandaids, small first aid kits.

Every day we need lunchmeat, cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, bread, sandwich bags and water. Often I have been asked, "how much do we need."  The short answer is all that you can bring. There are some 1,200 firefighters here. I am headed to Gordon and Strawn to see if I can be of some help there.  

I find encouragement from I Kings 19:12 when Elijah discovered that "the Lord was not in the fire."  I have seen the Lord in the fire fighters and the volunteers.
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Weatherford District Superintendent Ginger Bassford continues to bring updates on the wildfires that are consuming communities within the bounds of our conference area. Help is needed by the Body of Christ to bring relief to the people of the Weatherford District and to the firefighters. Three drop off locations have been established for intake of much needed items.  
Aledo UMC - 100 Pecan (corner of Pecan & Oak), Aledo 76008 
      Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. / Saturday noon – 4 p.m.
 
Weatherford District Office - 1421 Sloan St., Weatherford 76086
       Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ONLY Priority List No. 1 items (see below)
 
Cleburne First UMC - 1300 Westhill, Cleburne 76033
      Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. / Friday 8:30 a.m. – noon
      Contact: Mauri Ford at 817-645-6392 ext. 110
 
Over 1,000 firefighters are involved with the situation, more than 21 homes are reported burned and our Cedar Springs UMC is gone. This is doubly devastating for Rev. Jim Senkel, pastor at Cedar Springs, since he was the pastor at Cross Plains UMC when similar wildfires consumed that structure and a large part of the town. People are still not permitted into the burn area, but you can help in this situation. The Weatherford, Brownwood and Fort Worth districts have been asked to supply 1,500 health kits to help the firefighters and those displaced from their homes. (See Health Kit content list below.)
We are asking everyone to help out with all of the other needs. Priority 1 and 2 list items are needed IMMEDIATELY. Dr. Bassford continues to update this list as new needs are identified. Please look for ways you and your church/ministry can help.
     1.  Firefighters & Police: Water, Gatorade (you cannot send too much), eye drops (supplies in the immediate area have been depleted), chap stick, non-perishable food items, chips, cheese & crackers, Wet Wipes, hand sanitizer, aloe vera lotion, sun screen (small enough to be carried in a pocket)
      
     2.  Victims: Immediate needs are personal items like tooth brushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, Wet Wipes, hand sanitizer, aloe vera lotion, sun screen, towels & wash cloths, bedding items
      
   3. Victims & Firefighters: Intermediate needs are for food, especially things to be eaten
on the run or with dirty hands, like hot dogs in buns wrapped in foil (no toppings), sandwiches or sandwich makings, fresh fruit like oranges, apples, bananas, chips, cookies, crackers — things that won't spoil. “This morning there were 800 firefighters on the ground, plus the families who had been burned out,” Bassford reports. “Please think of this in terms of long-term and large magnitude. With these weather conditions it could be many, many days before there is true relief,” she added.
 
   4.  Victims: Long-term needs are household items. “Lots of people will have lives and homes to rebuild,” states Bassford. “Some have insurance, so do not. Please begin to think about household needs as you walk through your own home. Perhaps you have two items of something; you might be able to share one with a neighbor in need.”
 
“And who is my neighbor …?” the young lawyer asked Jesus. Jesus then told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. Perhaps Jesus might have said, “Friend, you neighbor is anyone who needs your help.” Thank you so much for YOU help. Please feel free to pass this message along.
 
If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Weatherford District office at 1-888-423-5378 or Laraine Waughtal, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at 254-595-1503.
 
Health kit items include:
  • 1 hand towel 15” x 25” to 17”x 27” kitchen (cleaning and microfiber towels are not acceptable)
  • 1 washcloth  
  • 1 comb
(comb must be sturdy and at least 8” long/no pocket combs or picks/rattail combs and combs without handles are acceptable)
  • 1 metal nail file or clipper
(no emery boards or toenail clippers)
  • 1 bath size soap
(3 oz. and larger sizes only in original packaging/all brands are acceptable)
  • 1 toothbrush
(adult size only/do not remove from original packaging)
  • 6 adhesive bandages
(¾” to 1“ size common household bandaids)
  • One tube of toothpaste
  • 1 plastic bag one gallon size
(sealable bags only to hold all the items)