As you see the photos of the damage caused of recent tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma and read the stories of those affected, please remember them in your prayers. Episcopal Relief & Development has developed bulletin inserts and other resources for those who would like to contribute to the efforts ERD though local Episcopal churches are engaged in.
ERD’s response page on its website has this to say:
Episcopal Relief & Development has been in further contact with the Rev. Canon José A. McLoughlin, Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, who reports: “It is clear that we will need some funding to provide assistance for food, groceries, clothing, etc., in addition to temporary housing. With each passing hour, more and more need is becoming evident.”
The tornado that flattened areas of Moore, Oklahoma – a suburb south of Oklahoma City – was upgraded on May 21 to an EF-5, with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. The death toll currently remains at 24, including nine children, and more than 230 people were injured. Early estimates put the amount of storm damage in the range of $1 billion.
In an interview with Episcopal News Service published on May 22, McLoughlin stated that the diocese is ‘still very much in assessment and short-term recovery response mode.’ Diocesan staff are cataloging needs and offers of help in order to organize recovery work beyond the immediate phase.
Emergency funding from Episcopal Relief & Development assists dioceses and congregations in reaching out to the most vulnerable members of their communities, supplying food, clothing, temporary housing, pastoral care, case management and support for unmet long-term needs. Necessary repairs to church buildings and related properties are supported by local church-based fundraising efforts.
In the Diocese of Fort Worth, community volunteers are helping to clear debris in the severely hit Granbury neighborhood of Rancho Brazos, as county officials await word from FEMA regarding federal disaster assistance. According to Katie Sherrod, Communications Director for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, 61 out of the hundred-or-so homes in Rancho Brazos were built by Habitat for Humanity with significant involvement from Episcopal volunteers. All of the Habitat homes were damaged or destroyed by the May 16 tornado, including one recently completed house that was scheduled to be turned over to its new owners on May 17. Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program staff and Partners in Response team members have been in touch with the local Diocesan Disaster Coordinator, the Rev. Tracie Middleton, and will be working with the Episcopal church in Granbury to respond.