Volunteers from United Methodist churches were in Prairieburg last week to help residents following a devastating tornado. Keith Pitts, an associate pastor from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids, organized a chainsaw response team to clean up fallen trees.
Pastor Pitts is the disaster response coordinator for the East Central District. He serves as a part of the network of support available from United Methodist churches in Iowa for people in need.
The Iowa Conference Standing Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Response strives “to be a caring, Christian presence in the midst of disaster.” Beyond organizing clean-up efforts, like they did recently in Prairieburg, they offer resources like their handbook to help church leaders know what steps to take in preparation for and in response to disasters. The committee also stewards donations to the Disaster Relief Fund, Advance Special #223, and sees that financial support is distributed to communities in need.
The committee’s work is supported with $6,000 in apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches throughout the state. The funds provide for maintenance of Tool and Response Trailers, including license, registration and insurance, as well as storage expenses for clean-up buckets in several locations in Iowa and training costs for disaster response coordinators and volunteers.