Community leaders, ministers and various others with an interest in the long-term recovery from the April 27 tornado gathered Tuesday at First United Methodist Church for a recovery tools and training event.
Barry Shade of Church World Service, an international, multi-denominational organization that does emergency response work throughout the world, was among the presenters of the event. The group has done relief work since 1946, when it organized to provide food following World War II. Since the 1960s it has also been doing domestic emergency relief work, providing supplies right after a disaster and training for long-term recovery. It also helps with small grants for recovery.
Shade explained the event would help community organizers understand the different pieces of long-term recovery and how they can work with one another and the different agencies they will come into contact with. He said the day’s topics would include an overview on long-term recovery and also touch on the topics of emotional and spiritual care, survey techniques, construction management, volunteer management and disaster case managers.
He said he hoped the attendees would have an opportunity to meet others that they will be working with on disaster relief and that they would come to understand that long-term recovery does take a long time and that survivors need a lot of help and will have to rely on multiple organizations. He also said he hopes survivors know that there are many people and organizations that want to help them.
Sheri Mathews of the United Methodist Care Team was among those attending the training. She said she attended to get further education to assist her work with the emotional and spiritual committee, which is helping to make sure the survivors and local pastors are taking care of themselves and that their spiritual needs are met.
“I’ve learned so far the need to reach out and find out what the local resources are,” she said.
Asked how she would encourage others to help, she said, “I would start by having people pray about this, to listen to their own hearts, and if they have the desire to go and help, to just jump out there and go do it.”
Christy Smith of the United Methodist Committee on Relief was speaking to the group about case management.
She said, “Sometimes survivors don’t know what resources they have. Where are the broken places? Our goal is to move to healing, always as a partner.
Shade said he was pleased with the turnout at the event, which included local pastors, emergency workers, nonprofit employees and others. He said he wanted the storm victims to know there are still people working toward recovery.
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