Imagine if your home was crushed, neighborhood flattened, electricity cut off, belongings destroyed, phones dead, water turned off, cars disabled and your world had pretty much turned into an Apocalypse Now Redux. Sure, we could wait for the Chinese Army to parachute in and the Red Crescent to drive in their campers – but what if someone you actually knew, say a couple of your clergy or fellow church members stopped by on bicycles with a bag of groceries and some advice on where to go for help? And what if they told your there were cots open at the church, nurses there to tending to the injured, and a big pot of spaghetti waiting for you?
Sure it’s an imperfect analogy, but it cuts to the heart of how church-based relief in times of disaster is so critical to getting folk back on their feet. Churches are established community centers. People know where they are. They’re trusted. They’ve got buildings. They’ve got contacts. And if they’re really blessed, they have ties to a larger network that can provide immediate resources when disaster strikes.
This is what we’re seeing with the amazing work of Episcopal Relief and Development (just one of many church-based relief organizations that has sprung into action). There are about 100 Episcopal churches and 250 Episcopal schools in Haiti. It is the largest diocese in the Episcopal Church. ERD has been working on disaster preparedness way before the quake hit, and thanks to generous donations (like yours, I’m sure), they are currently serving 25,000 displaced Haitians in 23 camps.
Thanks to endowments and shared administration costs with The Episcopal Church, ERD is able to get $.92 of each donated dollar directly to the need. You get a lot of bang for your buck. If you’d like to give go to www.er-d.org.