Adventist Community Services and Volunteers Respond to Floods
During the first week of February, 2020, floods hit several counties in southern Washington and North-central Oregon. Especially hard hit were areas in Pendleton, Walla Walla and outlying parts of Umatilla County.
Where have Adventist Community Services (ACS) and volunteers been involved? Here is a sampling:
Walla Walla University students filled 30,000 + bags of sand;
Walla Walla Valley Academy with less time and students still filled over 8,000 bags of sand;
Individual members sheltered evacuees;
SonBridge, in College Place, was on a one-hour alert for providing shelter for evacuees. They were willing in spite of the fact that the next morning was the yearly constituency meeting;
From Sabbath through Wednesday Adventist volunteers including lots of young people fixed meals for the evacuees at the Red Cross shelter in Pendleton;
A young private business owner from Coeur d’Alene, Albert Rorabeck happily shared one full day and his big truck to drive the ACS Disaster Response trailer filled with flood buckets and supplies needed to man a donations warehouse to Walla Walla fairgrounds first, and then on to Pendleton Convention Center;
With short notice a MARC (Multi-Agency Response Center) was planned for Thursday in Pendleton. Linda & Phil Ruud, Shawn Ruud and Pastor Gibson from Pendleton have been key in the Pendleton area for planning the ACS response. Adventist Community Services provided a booth that included free flood buckets filled with what items are needed in cleanup.
Also ACS was asked to provide an Emotional and Spiritual Care team. Thank you to Dan Solis, Gary Gibson, Jeff Kinne and Mike Lambert.
Video where you see a great screen shot of the ACS Disaster trailer and two shots of ACS flood buckets – at 1:00, 1:05 and 1:16 minutes. Resource fair held at Pendleton Convention Center to help those affected by floods
On Friday a MARC was held in the Walla Walla area. And still taking place as I write.
As of Friday afternoon with new furniture, refrigerators, clothing and other items being trucked into Pendleton as gift to the survivors, final negotiations were in process for Adventist Community Services to open a Donations Management Warehouse.
A special thank you to Doug Venn, ACS DR Coordinator of the UCC Southern District who has worked tirelessly as well as Phil and Linda Ruud from Pendleton.
David Lopez, WWU Center for Humanitarian Engagement; Linda & Phil Ruud; Doug Venn; Norman Thiel, SonBridge; Dan Solis; Larry Mays, NPUC Disaster Response Coordinator; Byron Dulan, ACS, NPUC; and Patty Marsh, UCC ACS Director -- have spent hours this week joining a daily phone call with Red Cross, state of Oregon, VOAD members and other organizations trying to pinpoint how best ACS and volunteers can bring the greatest support to these individuals and communities. In disasters circumstances change by the hour – communication and flexibility between organizations are key.
And our Pathfinders . . .
A final thank you. Last Spring many Pathfinders under the direction of UCC Pathfinder Coordinator, Richie Brower, filled 150+ flood buckets. Last Spring almost a third of the buckets were delivered to three different Native American communities in Eastern Washington that experienced flooding. And then the flood buckets were stored. Because floods give little warning, what a blessing that those buckets that sat almost year, were ready to load up.
Early Wednesday morning a call came from the Senior Red Cross Manager to Patty Marsh, “Do you by chance have flood buckets? We are in great need here for evacuees at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds?”
With excitement Patty was able to tell the Manager that the flood buckets were a little over an hour out. Through the combined efforts of many, these buckets were one more way Adventists can share with a hurting world, “We care . . .”
Next Sabbath there will be a special offering taken at the close of the church service for Adventist Community Services Disaster Response. Thank you for your generosity that makes such a response possible.
Patty Marsh, Director
Adventist Community Services / Disaster Response