New direct number for TNUMCDisaster Response: 615-270-9255
As is the practice of the United Methodist Church Disaster Response through UMCOR, the TN Conference will be deeply involved in relief and recovery efforts until the work is completed. The church will be engaged until all survivors are restored to pre-disaster wholeness in material, emotional, and spiritual areas.
Due to the possible COVID-19 spread, most volunteer efforts have been paused.
Exception; this Friday (3/27) and Saturday (3 /28) Putnam County is planning a widespread debris collection effort. This includes employing small teams of volunteers to clear debris by hand. The county volunteer leadership would like up to 200 volunteers in small groups. Volunteer liability waivers and more information are available on the TN Conference volunteer portal. (Fill out volunteer form above)
When other safe and organized opportunities for volunteers are available, they will be communicated on the portal and through Conference News.
Due to the current gathering restrictions, Disaster Recovery Centers have been closed and FEMA personnel have returned to their homes. The registration process is still available online through May 4, 2020, at DisasterAssistance.gov
In addition to continued debris removal coordination, the Tennessee Conference Disaster Response leadership team is currently working to formulate the long-term response efforts to assist all areas impacted by the tornadoes of March 2020. These efforts include offering training for several county long-term recovery groups. The Conference will also make case management, volunteer rebuild, and material resources available to community partners in the long-term recovery of the affected communities.
Currently, our work has resulted in over 2000 individual volunteer hours and more than 500 hours of equipment operation in the debris removal and relief efforts.
March 20, 2020 Update
Thank you for volunteering!
Some of the recovery areas where we will send workgroups are not yet safe for volunteer teams. In addition, we now have COVID-19 restrictions with which to comply. When the environment is safer, we will communicate with those who have volunteered and put them to work in disaster ministry in safe and effective ways.
Your patience is appreciated. If you register to volunteer, we WILL call on you to help as soon as we are able to do so.
March 12, 2020 Update
Disaster Assitance Centers
Were you impacted by the tornado? Come to a Disaster Assistance Center to access support from multiple agencies at once.
7 days a week: 9 AM to 6 PM
Hadley Park Community Center
Hermitage Community Center
East Park Community Center
Metro Codes, Metro Social Services, Humane Association, FEMA registration intake, Public Health, Red Cross, Financial Empowerment Center, TN Dept. of LAbor, Metro Action Commission., TN Dept. of Human Services
“The outpouring of support for our community and affected church families has been incredible! We are so appreciative,” said Robert Craig, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Nashville Episcopal Area.
Craig is assessing damage this week to determine what projects can be tackled now and in the coming weeks. Ken Hunter, the Caney Fork River District’s disaster relief coordinator, quickly mobilized Early Response Teams (ERT) from St. Marks, Murfreesboro First, and Cookeville UMCs to get much-needed equipment to affected sites in Putnam County.
The overnight tornado that hit Tennessee earlier this week left significant damage within several TNUMC districts. United Methodist churches whose buildings were the hardest hit are Dodson Chapel UMC, Braden Memorial UMC, and East End UMC. All have insurance policies to cover the physical damage.
But, it is the pastors and congregations – and the communities they serve – who are the primary focus for UMCOR-trained teams. “We are creating a list of needs that we will continue to update,” said Craig. “Recovery from a disaster like this will take a long time. We definitely will have a place for willing volunteers to help.” He added that he was particularly struck by the generosity of congregation members in the hardest-hit areas. “Members of churches – where the walls of the church building are barely standing – were out on the streets, finding neighbors and making sure that they had food to eat today.”
Shipments of hygiene kits and tornado buckets already are on the way to our area from the UMCOR Warehouse. We will need to replenish these supplies at a later date. If your church wants to put kits together – and has a place to store them – Hygiene Kits and Tornado Buckets will be needed in the weeks ahead.
When sites are secure, trained ERTs will be invited into the affected areas by Robert Craig. Several have already offered support. Volunteers without UMCOR Emergency Response training will then be assigned to on-site work projects.
In the meantime, continued prayer, financial donations and food for first responders are appreciated. We celebrate the connections several churches have already made with one another to help feed search and rescue personnel as well as neighbors working to clear away debris around their own homes and businesses.
“As we move through the wilderness this tornado has left in its path, we are reminded that God surrounds us with a cloud of witnesses,” said Melinda Britt, TNUMC Director of Connectional Ministries. “The witness of the local congregations surrounding the community with the love of Christ is an amazing, faithful response to this disaster.”
We are grateful for your prayers and financial assistance for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been directly affected by the tornados in our area.
Several of our communities and churches were significantly damaged in both the Cumberland River District and the Red River District. We also are getting reports of damage in the Caney Fork River District.
Our Disaster Response team is working with clergy, district superintendents and our bishop to assess damages. So far, we know that we have churches that are severely damaged. Below are photos from Dodson Chapel UMC, Braden Memorial UMC, and East End UMC. We are awaiting reports on congregation members as well as from other churches that may have been affected.
The Tennessee Conference appreciates your financial assistance in responding to this disaster. You may make tax-deductible contributions that will go directly to our disaster response efforts.
Please allow first responders to do their jobs today. We will let you know how you can volunteer assistance as we know more. Our Disaster Response Coordinator, Robert Craig, is assessing how our churches will need help and what types of supplies may be needed.