Community Services and Disaster Relief
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Community Services and Disaster Relief team have been hard at work the past several months responding to areas that were hit by tornados this spring. In the area surrounding Little Rock, there were more than 3,000 homes affected. More than 200 homes sustained major damage or are totally gone! Many people had to just relocate as all the motels were full and no rental housing was available. Where do you begin when everything is in chaos and people have nowhere to go home to?
We began by taking out our mobile unit with supplies we had on hand. Sometimes it takes time to gather supplies, so we are grateful for our small churches that have stocked supplies and can mobilize to help pass out the necessary items when disaster strikes. We have worked with the state in the past, and as our suppliers began to respond to the demand, we had to find a place to stage our distribution site. The Little Rock Central Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church rose to the occasion and provided space in their church for our core volunteer staff. Two blocks from the church, one of the members provided a 60-by-60-foot metal building that has met our needs and has been the hub of activity for supplies coming and going. Between the Spanish churches and the Shiloh Regional Church, many volunteers have delivered supplies to people in need.
The Little Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church has provided areas that people can drive through and obtain supplies. You have no idea how happy people can be when given a flood bucket containing cleaning supplies. The Little Rock Pathfinder Club and older church school students have helped put these cleaning buckets together as they work to get their Community Service honor. Trees have been cut down, but yards are a mess, and many older people need help with the cleanup.
Lavida Whitson, Arkansas-Louisiana Adventist Community Service Disaster Relief (ACSDR) director, sent in a grant request to the North American Division ACSDR and received $24,000 to help buy supplies. They ordered 25 kitchen kits from Amazon, which were very much needed. Mike and Ellie Hitt have been at the site most of the time, and David Grover, from the Michigan Conference, has become a familiar face with the crew.
If you are interested in going out with the mobile unit or can help the yard cleanup crew, call Lavida Whitson at 501.317.0997. One more important thing everyone can do to help is to pray for the families who are hurting and to pray for the ACSDR response. We can never respond without the Lord’s help. He opens doors that we cannot!
By Lavida Whitson and Sylvia Downs