Volunteers Needed for Flood Clean-Up



United Methodist disaster response volunteers have been conducting assessments in areas hit by recent flooding in southwestern PA and have put out a call for volunteers to help with clean-up in the Washington and Butler areas.

"We are collaborating with our partners in the Western PA V.O.A.D. (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to respond as the church and offer care and clean up in the name of Jesus Christ to many individuals who have been affected by the flooding in Butler, Fayette, Washington and Allegheny counties. It is still unclear how many homes will need assistance. We are receiving new information each day," said the Rev. Calvin Cook, Conference Disaster Response Ministries coordinator, in an Aug. 8 email update.

"The Disaster Response Ministries Team has completed initial assessments ... in the Butler, Connellsville, Washington,and Pittsburgh districts. Officials report hundreds of people affected and we will continue to assess needs that are referred to us. Volunteers are needed this week to help with cleaning out basements in several areas. UMCOR Cleaning Buckets and Health Kits have already been sent to these areas," he added.

How to Volunteer

Cook issued a call to action and service.  Anyone willing to respond as an ERT or work alongside trained disaster response volunteers, is asked to register at wpaumc.org/summer2017floodvolunteers  and share their availability. Someone will contact those who register with an assignment.
  • The United Methodist Response in Butler is being directed by David Kissinger, Johnstown Disaster Response Coordinator (DRC), and Pastor Lisa Gill of Butler First United Methodist Church.
  • The UM Response in Washington District is being coordinated by Christy Orndorff, Washington DRC and Pat Roddy of Crossroads Church using First UMC Washington as the base of operations. Download Washington Response Insert
  • The UM Response in Allegheny County is being coordinated by Fred Watts, Pittsburgh DRC. 
In Butler, Cook noted, the PA VOAD has offered to support the community for a one day blitz on Saturday, August 12, 2017. Various teams of volunteers will start at 8am at the Fire Station and the Salvation Army will provide food, Cook said. Tasks include mucking out, spray-washing, sanitizing with bleach, clearing yards, and possibly removing some heavier debris. Also, 44 households need assistance with either a hot water tank and/or a furnace.

To register for the one-day blitz, volunteers should call 211.  If registering a group, please have one person call with number of people and ages. Individual volunteers are welcome and will be paired with others.  Please register ASAP using 211 or through 
wpaumc.org/summer2017floodvolunteers .

Johnstown District Clean-Up

In the Johnstown District, disaster response work has been completed in Coalport, Irvona, and Westover with the help of teams from The Baptist Relief Committee and Early Response Teams from Johnstown, Emporium, and Ligonier. 

To Donate Kits, Funds

All donations of cleaning buckets, health kits, etc. should be sent to the Eastbrook Mission Barn or one of its satellites. Monetary donations should be sent to the Western PA Conference Treasurer's office and marked for Disaster Response Ministries (Adv Special #DR0000911) so that the funds may be used where they are most