Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Children's Disaster Services responds to California wildfires.

Children's Disaster Services worked in three shelters in southern California over the weekend and into the early part of this week, responding to the latest round of wildfires there. Four wildfires sprang up in southern California over the weekend, burning tens of thousands of acres and destroying hundreds of homes.

Children's Disaster Services is a program of the Church of the Brethren, and is the oldest and largest nationwide organization specializing in children's disaster related needs. The program sends teams of trained and certified volunteers to set up child care centers in disaster areas at the invitation of the American Red Cross and FEMA.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, eight volunteers from Children's Disaster Services were at work in the shelters in southern California, and by Monday, 12 volunteers were in place. More than 40 child contacts were made by the volunteers over those two days. The child care response continued on Tuesday as well.

Gloria Cooper often provides leadership for the southern California rapid response team from Children's Disaster Services. “The shelter was in great turmoil today,” she said in an e-mail report from the shelter that served the Oakridge Mobile Home Park. At the mobile home park, “some 488 trailers were melted down by the fire,” Cooper said. “There was a long and confusing process of announcing names and addresses of persons who were to be taken, one bus load at a time to the trailer park. The residents who had homes still standing, had ten minutes to enter their homes and then return to the bus to be returned to the shelter.”

A Children's Disaster Services Level I Workshop is planned for southern California, at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, in March 2009. Participation in a workshop and a background check are required for Children's Disaster Services volunteers. Go to for more about how to volunteer.

In other news from Brethren Disaster Ministries, a flood recovery project in Rushford, Minn., held its first house dedication on Sept. 30 for the Hanson family. The project is scheduled to close on Dec. 14, after having completed the building of seven homes.

Source: 11/19/2008 Newsline

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