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"Prepare. Respond. Recover. It's time to get Ready LA" - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
When times are tough, or disaster strikes, many people turn to their churches and faith-based organizations for help. These organizations often respond quickly and positively in emergency situations. Though you may want to check first with a church or faith-based group of which you are a member you do not have to belong to any such group in order to seek assistance. Many are willing and eager to help anyone in need.

Faith Based Organizations

Good people during bad times

Here are some services that various faith-based organizations can provide for you during or directly after a crisis event:

  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Child Care and Elder Care
  • Clothing Bank
  • Storage Facility
  • Collection Station for Goods and Supplies
  • Supply & Distribution Center
  • Information and Communication Center
  • Crisis Intervention

FInding a place of refuge

Chaos and confusion often unravel even the best-laid plans. So when a disaster strikes, move quickly, but don’t forget to think clearly. Once you’ve escaped immediate danger and can take a moment to assess your situation, decide whether you are able to go back home or not. Listen to news reports and talk to emergency personnel. If you must find a temporary refuge, consider your church or another faith-based organization that is actively assisting disaster victims. Should you go to one of those facilities, workers there will probably want to know the following:

  • The number of people in your group who need shelter
  • Whether anyone in your group needs special medication or certain foods
  • What, if any, injuries you have incurred
  • Whether you have any transportation
  • An assessment of your immediate clothing needs
  • The physical status of your permanent home
People power

Good people come to the forefront in times of need. If you are interested in helping your church, synagogue, mosque or another faith-based organization during a disaster situation, ask them how you might be of service. Let them know any special skills that you might have. Then be sure to get whatever training you need from that group so you can be available when an emergency situation arises. Among some of the services that you could possibly perform include:

  • Cleanup and repair
  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Counseling
  • Special needs assistance

Developing a plan

Faith-based organizations should take stock of their resources and look at ways that they can play a positive role during local disasters. There are many ways in which they can help. If you are part of a faith-based organization, here are some of the things to be considered when planning for disaster assistance and relief:

  • Assemble a leadership team.
  • Determine a reasonable financial outlay.
  • Make a list of possible services.
  • Coordinate with local authorities and aid groups such as the American Red Cross.
  • Ask for additional input from other members of the congregation.
  • Divide the workload among individuals or committees.
  • Check all safety measures to make sure they're operative, in the event of a disaster response.

Useful links

ENLA (faith based org, non-profit org)
World Vision

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