By Rev. Phillip Lotspeich
It’s been almost 4 weeks since the catastrophic flooding in Eastern Kentucky. The temptation is to assume all is better and move on to the next major issue happening in the world. We’ve already seen more flooding occurring in the west and southwest. While we understand that this is normal, we cannot let out focus be taken away from all the work that needs to be done to care for our family in Eastern Kentucky.
Following the Presbytery meeting, our General Presbyter and three representatives from the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance spent three days touring, listening and trying to understand the vast needs of the area. The destruction of the flood is still apparent around every corner and across the region.
We heard terrifying stories of rescues and lost homes. Our congregations have been heroic in their response. While the clean-up continues, there is a palpable shift to what needs to be done in the long term. Four weeks ago, many emergency response groups descended on the area to muck out mud in homes, feed and house those displaced and provide support for anyone impacted by the floods. We observed this past week that many of these organizations were beginning to wrap up their work and head home. While this is normal, the anxiety of seeing those who came to help now leaving creates the potential for feeling abandoned. We must continue to let them know they are NOT alone and we are going to be with the for the long haul.
There are a few things we will be doing to support the recovery and rebuilding.
We will be working with local organizations to participate in Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRG) in affected counties. These groups will be working to address unmet needs and coordinate rebuilding efforts.
Our Presbytery will be developing a Flood Response Committee to organize our work to help churches, congregants and their communities rebuild. This will include directing donated funds to areas of need, developing a host site in coordination with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to welcome works team to the area and supporting the emotional and spiritual needs of the communities. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please email Philip.email@example.com
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been an invaluable partner in responding to this flood. From the grant money they have sent to help repair our church buildings and support the immediate needs of the area to the deployed staff and commitment to help us do the work for the long haul, we are very grateful for their partnership, wisdom and commitment to ensuring a faithful response to this disaster.
If you would like to support the relief effort, you can make a donation here:
https://transypby.org/paypal/ Please note that it’s for KY Floods.
You can also give electronically to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance at this site. https://pma.pcusa.org/donate/make-a-gift/gift-info/DR000191/ This is the PDA designated account for flooding. Donors need to be instructed to reference Eastern Kentucky July Flooding. Or they can send checks to…
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
DR000191 Eastern KY Flooding