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Michigan flooding and what you can do now

Mid-Michigan flooding around Midland First UMC

The Disaster Response Team of the Michigan Conference suggests several important things United Methodists can do to assist thousands of their neighbors who are now suffering from flooding in mid-Michigan.

May 21, 2020 | LANSING, Michigan – Over the past two days historic flooding continues to impact the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan. It is estimated that 10,000-12,000 people have or will be affected by flooding. Michigan United Methodists join Bishop David Bard in praying for people living in the region, first responders, and community leaders.

Nancy Money, the Coordinator for Disaster Recovery Ministries for the Conference, reports that a $10,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), requested by Bishop Bard, has been approved. These funds will assist in the Conference’s immediate response to relief needs in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Needs will be assessed by the Michigan Conference Disaster Response Team in coordination with local leaders.

The Detroit Free Press reports this afternoon that President Donald Trump has made an emergency declaration for mid-Michigan and has authorized FEMA aid. Nancy Money explains, “This is an emergency declaration not a major disaster declaration.  There are no direct assistance programs available through FEMA yet, only emergency protective measures.” 

Other Conference and District Staff join Nancy on the “frontlines” of communication and relate to different networks of United Methodist leaders across the state. Dan O’Malley, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, is assisting Nancy in mobilizing efforts and coordinating with UMCOR, local, and state leaders. District Disaster Recovery teams are also ready to engage. At present the District Response Coordinators are working Dan O’Malley to set a network of collection sites across the state and draft a transportation plan.  

Bishop David Bard has issued an appeal for prayers and funding to assist the disaster relief effort. 

The Rev. John Kasper, Superintendent of the Central Bay District, and Teri Rice, Executive Administrator for Central Bay, have contacted clergy and congregations in the area. All clergy are safe and accounted for; some are among the evacuated.

United Methodist churches reported to be “dry” include: Homer, Gordonville, Edenville, Dale, AuGres, Tawas, and Midland First (but no power). The Sanford UMC reports on Facebook: “Church and parsonage have had manageable damage from the flood. Please keep those who are in severe hardship in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Disaster Response Team, chaired by the Rev. Robert Miller, is asking Michigan United Methodists to respond in these ways at the present time:

  • Assemble Cleaning Buckets & Hygiene Kits. Please follow these instructions, that include new COVID-19 sanitation protocols. These are the collection sites:
    • Central Collection Site–Aldersgate UMC, 2206 Airfield Lane, Midland (M-F 8 am-3 pm)
    • Freeland UMC, 205 E. Washington St., Freeland (M-T-W 9:00 am-1:30 pm;
    • Saginaw First UMC, 4790 Gratiot Road, Saginaw (T 11 am-2 pm and W 5-7 pm)
    • St. Louis UMC, 116 S. Franklin St., St. Louis (Th 12-1:30 and 5-6:30 pm)
    • Swan Valley UMC, 9265 Geddes Road, Saginaw (M-F 8:30 am-1:30 pm)
    • Questions about collection sites should be addressed to Rev. Karen Sorden at pastorkarensorden@att.net.
  • Donate to the Michigan Conference Disaster fund. For those wishing to donate to Great Lakes Bay Region flood victims, checks may be sent to the 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. Give online here.  

Please note. Volunteers are not needed at this time. The Disaster Response Team has mobilized and readied Michigan’s trained Emergency Response Teams (ERTs). ERTs will be deployed when impacted communities are ready and able to receive them. General Volunteers In Mission will be needed in the future.

Further reports will be made on the Conference website and Facebook Page when new information is available.

Information is also available on the Disaster Response Ministry page of the Conference website.

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