Tornado and Flood Responses - Help Needed
MNA Disaster Response has been assisting individuals, churches and presbyteries in six states in the wake of four major disasters occurring across the south. We are asking for your prayers and financial help now, and your for prayers and physical help in the near future. During February MEMA forecasters were predicting an historic flood event in Jackson MS, equating the likely event to the never forgotten floods of 1979 and 1983. Our staff hosted an informational meeting at First PCA Jackson MS along with 50 representatives from 12 churches of the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley to prepare for the imminent flooding of the Pearl River. On February 15, a week before the Pearl crested, MNA preloaded a large equipment trailer with flood buckets, hygiene kits, dehumidifiers, generators, fans and blowers, etc., and transported the supplies and equipment to Trinity PCA Jackson MS for distribution by our teams. The river ultimately did not reach the forecasted level; however, it did climb to 8.5’ above flood stage, a frightening level by all accounts. A few hundred non-PCA homes flooded in several neighborhoods and local PCA congregations moved quickly to help muckout and gut homes as well as assisting those families in various ways. Soon after, a massive tornado ripped through TN on the evening of March 2 and early morning of March 3, killing 26 and injuring 300. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed affecting communities served by the PCA beginning in Nashville with continued destruction all the way to Cookeville, a distance of 80 miles. Again, MNA Disaster Response began supporting Nashville Presbytery by marshaling critically needed supplies from our Rome GA warehouse.
As those operations ramped up, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spread, ultimately shutting down volunteer mobilization almost as soon as it began. As the virus began to spread we immediately took action and either transported or shipped almost 100% of the masks, pandemic kits, latex gloves, hand sanitizer, etc., that we had on hand at the Rome Warehouse. Mike Kennamer, MNA Warehouse Manager prayed for wisdom and then proceeded generously and judiciously to supply the churches and presbyteries which requested those critical supplies. By the time the travel restriction was imposed, the large quantity on hand had been mostly depleted. Mike is currently burning the midnight oil, looking under every rock to resupply and expand these types of supplies. Then, on Easter morning, a major long-track tornado system began in TX and plowed through PCA communities in LA, MS, AL, GA, TN and SC. While still under travel restrictions MNA began shipping relief supplies to our affected churches including many Sheds of Hope 8’x8’ yard barn kits to PCA congregations in MS, TN, and SC. We shipped pallets of supplies as far west as Monroe LA, chainsaws to AL, and generators to GA. We currently have requests for 48 additional Sheds of Hope to store displaced homeowner’s personal property.
Your partnership is requested: MNA Disaster Response is assisting congregations in at least seven presbyteries. We have shipped and transported tens of thousands of dollars of supplies and equipment, and have been coaching affected congregations all the while preparing for the day we can again begin mobilizing volunteers. Please join us in praying that the restrictions are lifted soon so that MNA can safely resume volunteer mobilization not only to these sites but also to long-running sites in Hurricane Florence affected NC where volunteers were sent home when the ‘shelter-at-home’ mandate was implemented. Your financial partnership will allow MNA to replenish supplies and equipment expended in good faith to these responses and help us prepare for resumed operations when the restrictions are lifted. A clearer picture of the long-term need is coming into focus and plans for the future responses are being developed with local leadership. Typically, MNA establishes a designated fund for each new response; however, these events occurred rapidly and without a break in between and the needs were immediate so we began responding to each event without establishing designated funds. When we received the calls we reacted as quickly as possible. All expenses were charged to our general operating fund which allowed us to immediately respond before new funds would arrive. You previously provided the resources that are allowing us to respond so quickly to these events; we are now asking for your continued partnership to replace those resources. Expenses included transportation costs, costs of equipment and supplies ushered to worksites, fuel, etc. Please prayerfully consider giving generously to this fund to help insure MNA can mobilize quickly to future events. Click here to give electronically: Disaster Response Mobilization Fund If you would like to mail your gift, please mark your gift for MNA Disaster Response and mail to:
Mission to North America PO Box 890233 Charlotte, NC 28289-0233
Relief workers needed: Once travel restrictions are removed we anticipate quickly restarting volunteer mobilization at various locations. Please check the MNA website for the most current information. A longer-term recovery effort is anticipated and in the planning stages. You can preregister your intent to serve by navigating to this link. Please contact Sherry Lanier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-294-3012 to find out how and when you can volunteer.
Arklie Hooten, MNA DR Director