All of your family and church plans, emergency kits, and training will get you, your family, and your community through the immediate emergency situation. Once the immediate physical threat is over, the recovery process begins, and it is just as important to prepare for it ahead of time. Do you know what your insurance will cover, or who to call? How can you check the structural integrity of your house, and where would you go if you could not return home? What financial assistance is available? How do you ensure that the emotional and spiritual needs of your family and community are being met? When you take the time to think through these questions, and make recovery a part of your family or church emergency plan, you will be more prepared to deal with whatever disaster you encounter.
Financial and Material Resources
Volunteer Organizations: Organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army are usually onsite in the immediate aftermath of a disaster to assist communities with basic needs such as shelters, food, water, and clean-up assistance. The Red Cross has a great starter guide for the immediate steps to begin recovering, and some great practical resources. FEMA: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide individual and family grants and assistance if the President of the United States declares a "major disaster" in a specific area. For more information on how to apply, visit the FEMA website.
I-LERT: Through I-LERT, financial and material assistance for your church may be available via Disaster Response branches of both the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Please contact us directly for more information and assistance.
Lutheran Social Services (LSS): Lutheran Social Services locations throughout Southern California provide various emergency services and resources, such as food, shelter, transportation, and clothing, to name a few. They also provide case management to guide you through longer term recovery efforts. You can visit LSS online for more information, or contact us, and we would be happy to connect you.
Grants: Grants and other financial assistance in the wake of a disaster are available from a number of different sources. Catalog of Federal Disaster Assistance (CFDA) numbers are provided to help you find additional information on the CFDA website.
- Disaster Assistance (CFDA Numbers: 97.048, 97.049, 97.050)
- Provides money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.
- Disaster Legal Services (CFDA Number: 97.033)
- Provides free legal assistance to disaster victims.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program (CFDA Number: 97.034)
- Provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to individuals who have become unemployed because of major disasters.
- National Flood Insurance Program (CFDA Number: 97.022)
- Enables property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance as a protection against flood losses in exchange for State and community floodplain management regulations that reduce future flood damages. https://www.ready.gov/seeking-disaster-assistance
Emotional & Spiritual Healing
The emotional and spiritual recovery of your family, church, and community are just as important as working out the material necessities, yet, it is easy to overlook them. FEMA has a nice, concise article on recognizing disaster-related stress, particularly the symptoms and responses in children. As witnesses of the love and compassion of Christ, we must not forget to ground our response and recovery in the Gospel. Below are some great resources that outline some key elements to emotional and spiritual recovery.
Oftentimes, it is necessary to look outside the disaster zone for emotional and spiritual support. Remember, our pastors, church leaders, and family members are all trying to cope with the trauma of disaster in their own personal lives, and may not be in the best mental state to tackle the emotional and spiritual health of others. Consider contacting your District or Synod office to arrange for someone with specialized training to come into your church and community, or contact us, and we will assist you in making such arrangements.