When Disaster Strikes, Generosity Kicks In

When Disaster Strikes, Generosity Kicks In

51.88 inches of rain. Try and wrap your head around that. If you can’t, look at these New York Times “before and after” photos, pre-Hurricane Harvey and post-Hurricane Harvey. Holy smokes. You’ll be shaking your head after seeing the monstrous amount of damage. The destruction of lives and property is mind-boggling and heartbreaking.
Sometimes we become so overwhelmed with the enormity of a disaster that we might be inclined to do one of two things:
Assume someone else is doing something.
Feel immobilized. 

But in you, dear readers, I have every confidence.  You will not succumb to these natural impulses because you are a people who make a difference.
Your prayers and good thoughts are critical at this time.
But right on par with that (and frankly maybe just a teensy bit more important right now), your financial contributions are also needed. Because I am a United Methodist, I know that 100% of all the funds provided to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) will go directly to helping people in distress. Here’s the info on that resource:
UMCOR #901670 (hint: take a special offering this Sunday). I’ve donated. I hope you’ll join me.
PBS has pulled together a list of organizations where you can send your financial donations. Click here to review those options.
In times of disaster, it’s sometimes a good idea to review how you might helpfully respond. Susan Kim’s, Top Four Worst, Best Ways to Help After a Disaster” is here for the assist. Here are her suggestions with a few adaptations from me:
1. Worst: Resist the urge to jump from your couch and drive to the disaster site (unless, in the case of Texas, you have a flat-bottom boat and know how to navigate it in dangerous conditions).
   Best: Respond immediately with prayer or a cash donation.
2. Worst: Don’t give the shirt off your back (seriously, unless requested, used clothing is a massive mess to contain and manage).
    Best: Send a cash donation. It will eventually get funneled to the local economy.
3. Worst: Don't believe that recovery takes only a few days. If Hurricane Katrina taught us anything, it’ll take years, not months, to restore “normality.”
    Best: Remember to keep donations and prayers flowing long after the cameras have gone away. It may also be a good time to work with the community to see if your physical presence might be needed in an effort to help the area rebuild.
4. Worst: Forgetting to prepare and train yourself for a potential disaster.
    Best: Get your plan and supplies organized now. You just never know when you’ll need them.
This is a disaster that we’ll be seeing the repercussions of for years to come. It will be incumbent on all of us to stay alert for ways that we can help our brothers and sisters in Texas. Because we know that generosity is not a “one and done,” we’re in it for the long haul. We’re with you, Texas.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’s praying for all the animals in Texas too…be strong armadillos. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.