Conference Disaster Response Fund aids wildfire damage relief efforts

August 09, 2018
Submitted by Gary Haddock
Disaster Response Coordinator, Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church

With wildfires burning throughout the Mountain Sky Conference area, the Disaster Response Coordinators, along with conference leadership, have set up a Disaster Response Fund to alleviate costs of the response. More than $2,000 has been collected so far, and to remain transparent with these funds the Disaster Response Coordinators have shared how these donations contribute to response efforts below.

The Disaster Response Coordinators have had conversations with those effected by wildfires, including the Rev. Janine Rose of LaVeta United Methodist Church in Colorado, where a fire has destroyed over 130 homes. Another area near LaVeta has suffered damage from fires, followed by mud slides from rain, and is too dangerous for groups to go into. 

The team has also been in communication with Durango United Methodist Church in Colorado where the 416 Fire is burning. Ten thousand dollars were made available for them to fill in gaps where other local disaster groups cannot help. They will be part of a long-term recovery group and the UnMet Needs Committee to help support recovery efforts over the next few months—if not years. These disaster response groups are not installed to solely take care of United Methodists, but to work with all those in need.

There are many other fires in Colorado, Montana, and Utah, as well as across the Western Jurisdiction. There is also a major threat of fires from thunderstorms in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.

The Mountain Sky Conference Disaster Response Fund allows disaster donations to be used where they are most needed. Many generous individuals choose to give to a specific location or event during disasters. This is a great help to those in need. However, if those funds are not needed for that specific event, they cannot be reallocated to other areas in need. This causes inflexibility in disaster response.

The Conference Disaster Response Fund allows for money to be used for any disaster event, training need, or expenditure by conference United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) representatives. This flexibility allows the funds to help those who don’t qualify for American Red Cross, FEMA or other organizations. These funds help people persevere so that they can move from being victims to becoming survivors.

UMCOR provides financial assistance, but the Mountain Sky Conference Disaster Response Team also provides:
  • prayers,
  • early response teams,
  • health and clean-up kits,
  • case management and training,
  • United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) for long term recovery,
  • training and support for volunteers and donations,
  • churches for shelter and distribution,
  • the Connecting Neighbors program, which develops a disaster response plan in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Operations,
  • and so much more.

Thank you for your generous donations. Please keep those facing disasters throughout the Mountain Sky Conference, nation, and world in your prayers.