Every church would like to be known as the place that met the needs of its community when disaster happened. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that families need to stock up. Get a kit, make a plan, and be informed, are very viable and essential for home preparedness.
A few years back when two major hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast, more than 40,000 refugees fled to the city of Austin, Texas. Several well-meaning pastors showed up at shelters only to be turned away because they were neither trained nor had any qualifications to deal with the situation. Since then the Red Cross (upon request) has provided training to thousands of pastors and church members in their city. As a result, Austin is now one of the “most ready” cities in America. To date, members of the Austin Disaster Relief Network have been called upon to respond to floods and fires in the surrounding area. Some were even sent to Joplin, Missouri, to assist following the devastating tornado in that area.
Many churches in our region already have some food supplies on hand, some are operating their own mini food bank and many have a commercial-grade kitchen. Moving ahead with an expanded disaster plan, including increasing supplies on hand, would be a small step toward making a big difference. And while you’re at it, how about compiling a skills inventory of your group. Who has medical experience? Is there a nurse or doctor in your group? Does anyone have skills in working with children? How about counseling? Maybe a team of musicians that don’t need electricity to make music. You get the idea. If this sounds familiar, it should. Your church or service club is a microcosm of the community and it may be every bit as important to map your group, as it is to map your neighborhood.
The next time your service club or church has a planning session, show them a copy of this column. When all the lights in the neighborhood are out except for the Coleman lantern in your gathering place, people will naturally be drawn to you. If there is a pot of soup on the propane stove and some coffee going, you might just make an impression on someone. You could save lives. Food for thought…
As always send your comments and question to me at email@example.com. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us”, available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.