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Clean-up continues in southeast Michigan

Flood clean-up in southeast Michigan

Federal, state, and church resources are being mustered to assist in the disaster relief phase after flood waters swept  through Wayne and Washtenaw counties on June 26. You can help.


KAY DEMOSS
Senior Content Editor

July 7, 2021 | LANSING — Leaders of conference disaster response are working diligently to coordinate United Methodist response to the flooding that took place in Wayne and Washtenaw ten days ago. Heritage and Greater Detroit districts are fully involved in the effort.

On June 29, Bishop David Bard issued an appeal for prayers and monetary gifts to the Michigan Conference Disaster Response Fund. That need will be ongoing to support assistance over the long haul. To donate by check, please mail to Michigan Conference at 1161 East Clark Road, Suite 212, DeWitt, MI 48820. It is important to include this exact language in the memo: #4407 Michigan Area Disaster Response. Those wishing to donate online may do so here.

Dan O’Malley, Michigan Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, is in touch with the UMCOR disaster network, including supply depots. Two more shipments of Cleaning Kits (Flood Buckets) arrived in the area this week, one from Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) in Illinois and the other from UMCOR Mission Central in Mechanicsburg, PA. Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana delivered the initial load of 2,080 buckets. The total number of Cleaning Kits delivered through UMCOR’s three warehouses is 6,032. The connectional church at work!

Flood cleanup in the neighborhood
Volunteers from Livonia Newburg UMC were among those responding to an inter-faith call to action July 2-4, 2021. Organizers from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints said 946 homes were mucked out during the weekend blitz. ~ Facebook/Newburg UMC

O’Malley reports that the Director of MMDC said she needs kit ITEMS rather than full kits at this time. “We have put a dent in their inventory,” O’Malley remarks. This is the list of what is needed:

  • 5-gallon buckets with resealable lid (14.35” x 12.19” x 12.19 deep). No screw-on lids, please. Used buckets are acceptable but must be clean from all material residue. Advertisements on the outside of the buckets are ok.
  • Liquid laundry detergent, 32-64 oz. bottles
  • Liquid concentrate household cleaner, 16-40 oz bottles (no spray bottles)
  • Dish soap, 16-34 oz bottles
  • Insect repellant, 6-14 oz pump spray or pack of 10-20 wipes also acceptable (pump spray bottles must have protein covers)
  • Scrub brushes, with or without handles

Directions on what to do with Cleaning Kit items:

  1. Full Cleaning Kits that are already packed may be taken to:
    • Ferndale First United Methodist Church – 22331 Woodward Avenue; contact is Jill Warren 248-850-0230 or Rev. Robert Schoenhals 248-837-5608
    • Second Grace United Methodist Church Ellison Center, 18900 Joy Road; contact Ada Hendrix 313-608-0431 or Gordon Marshall 586-222-3110
    • Freeland United Methodist Church, 205 E. Washington Rd, Freeland; contact Rev. Kayla Roosa 989.695.2101
  2. Instructions on where to take bulk kit items to be announced.
Flood at 2nd Grace Church
A flooded classroom at 2nd Grace United Methodist Church in Detroit.

Dan O’Malley is also regularly meeting with Michigan VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to network efforts. In sessions this week, he learned Volunteer Agency Liaisons (VALS) are working with the governor’s office to have Wayne and Washtenaw counties declared disaster areas. In addition, the Michigan State Police will undertake damage assessment with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) this week, and decisions on case management can be made when that is completed. The current estimate of homes needing help in crisis clean-up is 2,638. O’Malley reports that this is basically the same number needing attention in 2014 in the Northwest Detroit Area.

Dwanda Ashford, the Executive Assistant on the Greater Detroit District, reports that two churches suffered water damage. Detroit Second Grace UMC lost ten computers, furniture, and their boiler. They also must repair damage to floors. Detroit Resurrection UMC had several feet of water in their fellowship hall and kitchen and are still mucking out. Those are the only two congregations reporting flooding. “We pray those are the only two,” Ashford said.

Flood in kitchen at Resurrection UMC
Flooding in the kitchen at Detroit Resurrection UMC.

United Methodist volunteers participated in a July 2-4 community-wide clean-up blitz organized by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Those wishing to lend a hand may sign-up through the United Way Daily Volunteer Registration website. O’Malley states, “MI VOAD wants to make clear that this isn’t just ‘dry the place out and everything will be good.’ We are all into a long-term recovery that will last up to a year and beyond.”

As United Methodists mobilize to help with the southeast Michigan flooding, nine case managers continue work in mid-Michigan assisting homeowners affected by the catastrophic flooding in May 2020. This work is now being funded by a FEMA grant which, according to O’Malley, “took a huge financial burden off UMCOR and the Michigan Conference.”

The three-day emergency phase is past. This effort is now in a 30-day relief phase. UMCOR and Michigan United Methodists are indeed in this flood recovery operation for the “long haul” work that will take 300-days and more. “That’s what we are here for,” said Dan O’Malley. “We are here to love our neighbor.”