Tornado Relief Update - How You Can Help

Date Posted: 3/7/2012

Many are wondering what we can do for recent tornado victims.  Several of our annual conferences were hit hard.  Among them: Kansas East, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Holston, and West Ohio.  UMCOR has already issued several emergency grants to help with relief.


There were 40 fatalities due to these severe tornadoes, most taking place in Kentucky (21) and Indiana (13).  West Ohio suffered 3 fatalities; one in Alabama, one in Georgia, and one in Kansas.


We all know that prayer is first and foremost.  No doubt, Texas Conference Methodists are already engaging in plenty of serious, intercessory prayer. 

Next, on Sunday, March 18, United Methodists everywhere are being asked to please give a generous donation to One Great Hour of Sharing, the annual offering that keeps UMCOR in operation.


Also, one can give to Advance Special #901375, established for Tornado Relief.  You may send your donation to: Dr. Elijah Stansell, Texas Conference Treasurer, 5215 Main, Houston, Texas, 77002.


The following localized capsules contain ideas and contact information as relief/recovery efforts are being organized. 


Reading, Kansas

Work also continues with recovery efforts from the May-2011 tornadoes.  A Habitat for Humanity project will begin there soon and there are many volunteer opportunities available. Contact Steve Burnett, Assistant Disaster-Response Coordinator, at or 785-410-0210. 


Harveyville, Kansas

An EF-2 tornado ripped through Harveyville the evening of Feb. 28, causing extensive damage to the community and destroying the Harveyville United Methodist Church building. Several people were injured and one person was killed in the small community, which is approximately 35 miles southwest of Topeka. 


Early Response Team members are being scheduled now and are asked to e-mail their availability to and copy Julie Pohl, the East Kansas DR Coordinator, at




Recovery Teams are still badly needed in Joplin.  Presently, there are open dates for teams in March, April, May and June.  Please Contact:


Volunteers and recovery teams are now being put to work in Branson, Missouri.  Amercorp is coordinating relief efforts.  For more information, go to:


I have nothing else from Missouri at the moment.  For those who would like to inquire, the best people to contact are Karen Benson or Audrey Phelps for Missouri.


The following info was excerpted from the North Central Jurisdiction Newsletter, March 5, 2012.  Three conferences within that jurisdiction were greatly impacted from tornadoes: Illinois Great Rivers, Indiana, and West Ohio.


Illinois Great Rivers Conference

At this time, needs for Early Responder Teams are being handled internally.  Ken Miner, the Disaster Response Coordinator for Illinois Great Rivers, reported that an ER Team was on the ground within 24 hours of the tornado strike.  In Harrisburg, as of March 5, their first day to receive Early Responders, three more teams with a total of 25 participants arrived. 


The Conference Care Team is also active.  As of yet, no invitation for teams beyond conference borders has been issued.  Please stay on the lookout for an announcement regarding long-term recovery teams.  Bishop Gregory Palmer foresees the need for persons with construction, plumbing and electrical expertise, along with folks who have a variety of skills, the most important being availability. 


Indiana Conference

The plea has gone out for the following items: First Aid Items, Work Gloves, Mitral Gloves, N95 Masks, Dust Masks, shovels, rakes, batteries, flashlights and Tubs for supplies.  Ship items to:


Multi-Agency Warehouse Distribution Center

700 Patrol Road

Jeffersonville, Indiana, 47130

Phone: 812-287-0090, or 812-287-0026


Only ER Teams from the Indiana Conference are presently being accepted into disaster areas. As of Monday, March 12, Indiana will be ready for VIM/PIM Teams for clean-up and repair.  Contact Bonnie Albert the VIM Coordinator for the Indiana Conference.  She may be reached at: ;,  or call 219-464-1447.


West Ohio Conference

Deanna Stickley-Miner, the Conference Missions Director, reports that over a 5-county territory, there were 3 fatalities, and 257 houses were either destroyed or damaged extensively.  Moscow, Ohio, was severely hit.  No invites for ER Teams has been issued yet.  They will need long-term recovery teams, and that announcement is pending.


When we receive  information from the other conferences (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia), we will pass that on to you!