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Donate to support tornado recovery

Tornado damage

After the Storm, the Michigan Conference’s long-term disaster recovery affiliate, needs your help as they aid neighbors impacted by recent tornadoes that have devastated our state.

Content Editor

After the Storm and the Michigan Conference Disaster Response Team are actively engaged and partnering with state and local officials in response to the May 7, 2024, tornadoes that swept through southwest Michigan.

After the Storm is communicating with local organizations, including the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and United Way, to prepare to support homeowners with disaster case management in the coming weeks and months as they begin to put their lives back together.

In other recovery efforts, After the Storm is getting ready to walk alongside individuals who had home and property damage on August 24-25, 2023. Seven tornadoes hit nine counties stretching from Eaton County, west of Lansing, to Metro Detroit. President Joe Biden signed a FEMA declaration for the affected areas on February 8, 2024, and aid is soon coming. After the Storm is gearing up to play a pivotal role in facilitating long-term recovery in these areas.

To assist After the Storm’s work throughout the state, the Michigan Conference is asking Michigan United Methodists to support After the Storm’s tornado recovery efforts by donating directly to After the Storm. Your generosity will impact the lives of those affected, offering hope and assistance as they work to rebuild their homes and communities.

How to give? Click this secure link or the button below to donate online, or mail a check made payable to “After the Storm” to After the Storm, 1011 Northcrest Rd., Lansing, MI 48906.

At least four confirmed tornadoes struck southwest Michigan on May 7 between 6 pm and 7 pm, causing extensive damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure, and thousands of lost power. Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Branch, and Cass counties shortly after the severe storms passed through.

One of the reported tornadoes directly struck the FedEx building in Portage, south of Kalamazoo, causing the roof to collapse and exposing the interior. In the aftermath, 50 employees were trapped inside as crews worked tirelessly to clear dangerous wires, allowing rescue efforts to commence. Thankfully, first responders could safely extricate everyone from the building that Tuesday night.

Pavilion Estates Mobile Home Park, just east of Portage, was another area heavily impacted by the tornadoes. According to reports from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, approximately 17 homes were completely demolished, while 173 others suffered significant damage.

The newly purchased home of the Rev. Dr. April Gutierrez, who begins her appointment as co-pastor of Portage: Chapel Hill United Methodist Church on July 1, was in the tornado’s path. A week before she and her family were scheduled to move, her home experienced multiple downed trees and roof damage. No other United Methodist churches or parsonages were impacted.

To help with immediate relief efforts, the Michigan Conference has taken action, securing a $10,000 Emergency Grant for Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The grant will assist with immediate relief efforts led by United Methodists on the ground in the impacted area.

The Red Cross quickly opened an emergency shelter to house those displaced by the storms, offering a safe haven during this difficult time. Michigan VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is actively involved in debris removal efforts, collaborating with other community groups to clear affected areas and restore normalcy to the impacted communities. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation and United Way have also launched fundraising campaigns to support residents affected by the storms.

On August 24 and 25, 2023, seven tornadoes caused downed power lines and trees, structural damage, and significant flooding across the lower half of Michigan. The storms took the lives of two persons.

On February 8, 2024, President Joe Biden signed a FEMA declaration (FEMA-4757-DR-MI), which will provide crucial assistance to residents in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, and Wayne counties who bore the brunt of the tornadoes, severe storms, and flooding last August.

With over 146,000 individuals having reported damage, After the Storm is already engaged in recovery, collaborating with FEMA, Michigan state agencies, and county leaders to assist affected residents. Currently, After the Storm staff is providing vital disaster case management services at community resource centers, aiding residents in applying for FEMA assistance.

After the Storm and the Michigan Conference have received a $619,000 grant from UMCOR to directly assist residents impacted by the August 2023 tornadoes and storms. In anticipation of another FEMA grant for a major disaster case management project, After the Storm is gearing up to play a pivotal role in facilitating long-term recovery efforts.

These grants bolster the disaster recovery efforts by After the Storm, but more is needed as the total anticipated expenses for recovery will likely outweigh the grants received. Some of the most necessary and costly repairs include:

    • Mold remediation: $5,000 to 7,000 average per household
    • Roof repair: $8,000 average per household
    • New roof: $15,000 to $30,000 per household
    • Furnace/water heaters: $3,000 average per household

Every dollar you give helps After the Storm assist neighbors on their long-term recovery journey, whether in southwest Michigan or Metro Detroit. Click here to donate to After the Storm, the Michigan Conference’s long-term disaster recovery affiliate.

Last Updated on May 16, 2024

The Michigan Conference