Home > Disaster Response > Disaster Response Updates — 2020 Archives

Update, December 8, 2020:

Our Savior Lutheran Church, Auburn, CA, and the congregations of the Central Pacific Mission District, with the support of NALC Disaster Response, are responding to the California wildfires. Berry Creek is a small community which lost every home and business in October. Beginning with prayers and emergency relief supplies, NALC congregations reached out and have delivered one box truck load and lots of carloads of supplies to area residents living in tents on their properties.

Update, November 4, 2020:

As 2020 winds down, NALC Disaster Response continues to be extremely busy responding to disasters:

March 3, 2020 — Tennessee was struck by seven tornadoes, devastating over 100 miles of communities. Reformation Lutheran Church,  Hendersonville, responded.

COVID-19 caused the closing of our congregations in March 2020; some remain closed yet today.

May 20, 2020 — Dams burst near Midland, Michigan, destroying the homes of 11,000 families and Living Hope Lutheran Church, Farwell took the lead for our Michigan Mission District.

July 30, 2020 — Hurricane Isaias struck Oak Island, North Carolina. Bert Lea is a fourth generation islander and lives in his great-grandfather’s house which was pushed off its foundation 50 feet to the rear of the lot but remains intact. The Carolinas Mission Region is responding and helping Bert to rebuild his family home. Monetary donations and volunteers are needed.

August 28, 2020 — Hurricane Hanna struck the southern Texas coast and our South Texas Mission Region responded by partnering with the Latin Lutheran Ministries, serving several hundred families impacted in the Laredo area.

September 11, 2020 — Hurricane Sally made landfall at Pensacola Florida as a Category 2 hurricane, damaging our NALC church, St. Paul Lutheran, the pastor’s home, and over 30 homes of members of the congregation. Volunteers, emergency relief supplies, and prayers were there immediately and continue to serve as we rebuild.

October 17, 2020 — The Iowa derecho swept across the Great Plains, destroying homes, crops, and causing fatalities. Our mission plant at Robins, Iowa, Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, responded, in addition to our Iowa congregations, and continues to serve as we go into the holiday season — donations are needed.

Fire season on the West Coast — wildfires continue to burn in 12 states, with over 100 million acres burned in California, over 9 million acres burned in Oregon, and numerous other fires destroying homes and families; over 30 fatalities to date. These are the most severe and largest wildfires in recorded history. Our Central Pacific Mission District is responding and your prayers and donations of gift cards are needed.

Throughout this time of COVID-19, NALC Disaster Response continues to deliver emergency relief supplies, congregations are hosting Stuff the Trucks and volunteers are safely volunteering to help rebuild homes and the lives of those impacted.

If you would like to volunteer or donate, please send your monetary donations to NALC Disaster Response, 2299 Palmer Dr., Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112. To donate gift cards and material donations of flood buckets, health kits, school kits, quilts, Bibles, and baby diapers, please send your prayers and support to NALC Disaster Response, 16500 Noble Ave., Caldwell, Ohio 43724.

Thank you for all you do and may God bless you in the coming year!

Update, September 23, 2020:

NALC Disaster Response is responding to Hurricane Sally in Pensacola, Florida. Sally was a tropical storm which became a Category 2 hurricane when she made landfall September 16. Pensacola took a direct hit, causing power outages for over one million people. St. Paul Lutheran Church has recently joined the NALC — St. Paul’s roof was damaged, the pastor’s house was damaged, and over 30 congregational members’ homes were impacted by the winds and flooding. Two truckloads of emergency relief supplies have been delivered; flood buckets, Bibles and kits. It was a severe storm and your help is needed.

A derecho (hurricane strength winds) struck Cedar Rapids, Iowa in August. Our NALC congregation, Mission in Christ Lutheran Church, the Iowa Mission District and NALC Disaster Response are responding.

The Central Pacific Mission District and NALC Disaster Response are responding to the West Coast wildfires. Record setting fires are causing millions of dollars in damage and leaving families homeless and hopeless. By providing your support, you are providing a message of hope through our congregations.

To assist our congregations in their response to each of these devastating disasters, please pray and donate Bibles! Volunteers are needed for debris removal and long-term rebuilding — please contact Mary Bates (740-509-1132) to schedule. Your donations of material goods are needed — contact Mary for the warehouse location. Please send monetary donations to NALC Disaster Response, 2299 Palmer Dr. Suite 220, New Brighton, MN  55112.

Update, September 17, 2020:

Hurricane Sally struck Pensacola, Florida yesterday. Over a million people are without power. One of our newest NALC congregations, St. Paul Lutheran Church, has been impacted. The pastor’s home and many members’ homes have damages. NALC Disaster Response is delivering emergency relief supplies Friday. Mary Bates will be completing assessments and more information will be forth coming over the weekend.

Your help is needed! Send monetary donations to NALC Disaster Response, 2299 Palmer Dr, Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112. Please send material donations (health kits, school supplies, clean up kits) and gift cards to the Disaster Warehouse, 16500 Noble Ave., Caldwell, Ohio 43724. Volunteers are also needed. Please contact Mary Bates for more information, 740-509-1132. Your prayers and support are appreciated.

Update, August 17, 2020:

Hurricane season is here — are you ready to share the love of Jesus?

NALC Disaster Response is responding to Hurricane Isaias in North Carolina. We are on Oak Island, helping a local homeowner whose home was knocked off its foundation by tidal surge. He had open heart surgery just three weeks prior to Hurricane Isaias — thank you Jesus for volunteers!

NALC Disaster Response and Pastor Ron Voss from Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, Robins, Iowa are reaching out to Cedar Rapids and the community in support after the derecho last week. Many communities in Iowa are devastated by hurricane strength winds — prayers and support are needed.

If your congregation, WNALC and Sunday Schools have emergency relief items to donate, please contact Mary Bates at 740-509-1132 to schedule a “Stuff the Truck”. See thenalc.org/nalc-disaster-response for the list of quilts, Bibles, flood buckets, and kits needed.

Update, August 11, 2020:

Pastor Jason Sigmon telephoned me today regarding an older gentleman on Oak Island whose home was destroyed by tidal surge and a car striking his home. This is a 1940’s home that is his permanent residence, he is divorced, had open heart surgery three weeks ago and has no homeowners insurance; for hurricane or flooding. He is trying to retrieve personal belongings at this time. Due to COVID-19, out of staters may not be allowed to volunteer in any areas of North Carolina at this time. I am hoping to schedule a “work day” this Saturday Aug. 15; to help this homeowner. If anyone in your congregation is available on Saturday, please contact me – I am trying to make overnight accommodations available also.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Mary Bates
NALC Disaster Response
[email protected] 

Update, August 3, 2020:

NALC Disaster Response and the South Texas Disaster Warehouse is responding to Hurricane Hanna’s impact in Laredo, Texas.  There is an ELCA congregation, Cristo Rey, who is assisting 350 +/- families there.  They are in the process of leaving the ELCA and need help.

We are sending everything in the Rosenberg disaster warehouse to Laredo tomorrow (Tuesday).

I am asking for your help to restock the Rosenberg disaster warehouse — do you have any flood buckets, health kits, school kits, baby care kits, quilts, Bibles (especially Spanish Bibles)?  Are you able to transport them to Rosenberg?

If you have any of these items, or are planning a collection of any of these items, please let me know by Aug. 19!

I am planning on sending a re-supply truck from the National Disaster Warehouse in Caldwell, Ohio.  However, I have faith that the Texas mission districts will help us out!

For more information, please contact me at 740-509-1132 — thank you and God.


Mary Bates
Disaster Coordinator
NALC Disaster Response

Baby Care Kits
WNALC Donation Request

Update, June 15, 2020:

To the Leaders of the Michigan Mission District:

Mary Bates is back in Michigan and has lined up a house that needs to be rebuilt.  A team of contractors is arriving this morning (Monday) from Minnesota to get the project started, however, additional volunteers are welcome.  Mary shared the following:

Dale & Sharon are in their mid 80’s with no resources.  Dale has state 4 lung cancer, home needs all appliances as well as sheet rock and flooring.  “Muck out” was completed on 6/12 and done well.  This week the house starts to get rebuilt.

Please put word out to your congregations that if anyone is interested in spending a day assisting, they would be welcome.

Update, May 18, 2020:

Thrivent Choice Program:

Grant funding from Thrivent Financial through its Thrivent Choice® program can help support organizations you care about – like NALC Disaster Response.

Directing Choice Dollars is easy!

Visit thrivent.com/thriventchoice to learn more OR call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt.

Update, May 6, 2020:

A message from Medicare.gov:

Unfortunately, scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to steal your Medicare Number, personal information, and money. And they’re using robocalls, social media posts, and emails to do it.

Remember, if anyone reaches out to get your Medicare Number or personal information in exchange for something, you can bet it’s a scam.

Be on the lookout, so you can stop scams before they happen. Here are recent Coronavirus scams to watch for:

  • Robocalls offering you respiratory masks they’ll never send
  • Social media posts fraudulently seeking donations for non-existent charities, or claiming to give you stimulus funds if you enter your bank account information
  • Fake testing kits, cures, “immunity” pills, and offers for protective equipment

Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information and tips on preventing Medicare scams and fraud.

The Medicare Team

Update, April 29, 2020:

Advent Lutheran Church, Kings Mountain, NC, donates supplies to local community: shelbystar.com/news/20200429/day-cares-in-cleveland-county-get-needed-supplies

Update, April 16, 2020:

From Mary Bates, NALC disaster response coordinator:

I received the below message from FEMA this morning. I have initiated a COVID-19 fund to respond in this time of a Disaster Declaration: send your monetary donations to NALC Disaster Response at 2299 Palmer Dr, Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112

Message from FEMA:

A month ago, President Trump declared a national emergency, which allowed federal government agencies to respond and help states, territories, and tribal entities conquer the COVID-19 pandemic.  In total, 56 states, territories and the District of Columbia, have received major disaster declarations, which is the first time in the history of our Nation. In addition, 26 tribes are working directly with FEMA under the emergency declaration.

Two months ago, many of us did not have or foresee the roles that we are now in – working remotely at home while the kids run around us, spending holidays away from family and friends, or being a frontline worker wearing a mask without the ability to show a smile of appreciation less than six feet away from colleagues or survivors. Our country and the world has, and continues, to change.

This disaster is different for us, as it probably is for you. But just as faith-based communities show us after a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, you (the entire faith community) quickly filled the gaps and leaned into response mode before the federal government could step in. You ramped up donations, delivered food to your at-risk populations, and you educated the masses on how Houses of Worship can still practice their faith at a distance, but together at heart.

Last week, the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives team called many of our partners to not only check in, but to hear about the amazing initiatives they are running across the country. While FEMA is often in the headlines, many of you do not always receive the recognition you truly deserve during times of crisis. The stories we heard through the phones warmed our hearts and provided ground truth that we do not always have the privilege of seeing (or hearing). We want to give a shout out to some of those partners who are responding!

Update, April 14, 2020:

There have been over 30 fatalities in the southern states. We will be working with churches to organize and equip local volunteers to respond. Emergency relief donations are being collected now. Contact me for a pick up at 740-509-1132 or [email protected]

As many communities are asked to stay at home, my heart breaks for families that now have nowhere to go — losing loved ones and homes in a matter of minutes.

Our hearts are with those families who have lost loved ones and we are coming alongside them to help families physically start to recover from the tornadoes while reminding them that God loves them and they are not forgotten. Please join me in praying for God’s peace and comfort to cover them.

Update, March 26, 2020:

Word of Caution:

NALC Disaster Response cautions congregation about meeting in person. One of our NALC pastors, along with several of their executive committee members have most likely contracted the virus during a small executive committee meeting they held last week. NALC Disaster Response encourages congregations to strongly consider not holding in person meetings at this time. Consider using services such as Gotomeeting and Zoom to meet online.

Halfway through the Stay at Home Mandate in Ohio:

Four recommendations for our congregations: 1. Donate face masks in unopened packages to ambulance, clinics and local hospitals. If allowed, sew fabric face masks. 2. Communicate with other members of your congregations by phone and social media in fellowship and love. Get to know people who you do not routinely talk to at church. 3. Provide an outdoor “free library” of non-perishable food and paper products such as toilet paper in single packs — restock as necessary. 4. Follow Joshua 1:8, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night…be sure to obey everything written in it” (ESV). Try the “three by five technique.” Each week identify a Scripture that relates to an area in which you want to grow, write it down on a 3×5 index card and memorize it. In one year you’ll have 52 Scriptures you can recall and stand on. Think how that will impact your life!

Update, March 25, 2020:

NALC Disaster Response, at the national disaster warehouse, just finished delivering several thousand N-95 face masks and gloves to Southeast Ohio area ambulance services, health clinics, and local hospitals — we cleaned out the Warehouse, folks! Are you checking your garages and tools kits? Do you have any unopened packages of N-95 face mask that you were going to use to paint or otherwise — donate them now! Our medical professionals desperately need them. When Mary Bates called Marietta Memorial and was mistakenly transferred to a doctor, she went ahead and explained our mission and he said extremely emphatically, “Hell YES, we need all the face masks you can donate” and NALC Disaster Response has now delivered cases to him! Thank you, Jesus for Your love in this time of need.

Update, March 24, 2020:

Story from Ohio

Jack and Diane Walker from Salem Lutheran Church in West Alexandria, OH, and Tim Schubach and his wife Rita, went through all of the flood buckets stored at Salem, and picked out all of the masks and gloves. Jack and Diane took 10 sets of about 10 masks and 5 pairs of gloves to a medical facility somewhere close to West Alexandria. Tim and Rita took the rest, two garbage bags full of masks and one full of gloves, to Kettering Hospital in Kettering near Dayton. Kettering Health Network is one of the two big hospital networks in the Dayton area.

Kettering said they’d accept any masks they had, N95 or not.

Your Help Is Needed!

If you have flood buckets in storage, please contact your local ambulance services and hospitals to determine if they are allowed to receive your N-95 masks, gloves and disinfectants! Please share them if allowed! Some hospitals are requesting fabric face masks — ask that question also and then contact local quilters. Here are instructions: https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/?fbclid=IwAR0wHYbXsfKPCZhwUvVQiOazkbxchgZf0uOw2K3acX3flSBNq6K9b1U9t2c

Update, March 13, 2020:

The impact of coronavirus continues to increase — please prayerfully consider whether to worship online by livestream or use social distancing in your house of worship. I encourage those at high risk to self-quarantine — more updates to come! God bless you all!

Update, March 12, 2020:

Hand sanitizer is easy to make at home:

recipe with 99% alcohol could be three parts alcohol to two parts aloe vera. OregonLive recommends a two-to-one ratio of 91% isopropyl alcohol to aloe vera. You can also add eight to 10 drops of scented oil if you want to smell nice. There are many recipes on the internet.

What can we do, as members of a Church Safety team, to help our members and staff mitigate the impact ofCOVID-19? I sent out the picture of a greeter, dressed in a hazmat suit, as a joke, but is it in our future to greet people, wearing a mask and carrying a handheld thermometer? By the way, I just priced handheld thermometers, on Amazon, and a decent one is around $80. HIPPA is, I feel, preventing us from getting a lot of pertinent information about this coronavirus variant. Like, how old are the victims and what were their underlying health conditions? It seems that risk goes up considerably past age 70 and young children are not impacted at all. Look at your congregations! How many are over 70 and have health concerns?
Then the pastors. How many visit the shut-ins? One thing the MSM does not emphasize, enough, is that half the deaths, from COVID-19, happened in ONE nursing home (Life Care Center, King County, Washington). Last I checked, that was 14 deaths, out of 24. It is hard to keep up with the statistics as they change by the hour. Anyway, King County is Seattle. My prayers go out to my friends on Bainbridge Island, WA. Anyway, my point is, our pastors visit many of the shut-ins, in nursing homes. They could, inadvertently, carry it in or carry it out. I read that Life Care Center had previously been cited for problems with it’s infectious disease control. Many of us have friends or family in nursing homes. I always see signs telling visitors to stay away if they have symptoms of a cold or the flu.
Churches are already changing some of their practices in response to COVID-19. Eliminating the Common Cup, during communion, for one. Limiting hand shakes, during “share the Peace”. For years, I have seen people doing fist bumps, instead of handshakes, during cold and flu season. Hand sanitizer is increasingly available, around the sanctuary. Social Distancing, which I mentioned yesterday, may encourage people to spread out and even occupy the front pews! Hopefully, it won’t prevent them from coming to church at all.
There are some recommendations to use elbow bumps, or a smile and a nod, instead of a hand shake. One reason face masks aren’t effective in limiting spread of the disease is because people tend to touch their faces, with their hands, many times an HOUR. A doctor once told me, several years ago, that the main entry point, for a virus, was around the eyes. You can sanitize your hands, one minute, and touch an infected surface, soon after, and you are infectious again. Even if you happen to be wearing plastic gloves and you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face…..
In God’s Service.

Update, March 11, 2020:

Coronavirus Precautions from Mary Bates, NALC Disaster Response Coordinator:

I have been listening and tracking carefully for what Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a multitude of other professionals are reporting on coronavirus and what it may mean for us in the Church.

Based on the advice of medical professionals and the CDC, we at the NALC Disaster Response are urging that if there’s even the smallest chance that we can be carriers of the virus, we should not visit nursing homes, go to work, or be in crowds. Self-quarantining for travelers is recommended, for up to 14 days.

It is recommended that persons considered “high risk” NOT ATTEND WORSHIP. High risk people include those over seventy and those with cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions, or diabetes. If you choose to attend worship, you should NOT shake hands, instead, wave or do the sign language hello.

It has also been noted that it is twice as easy to contract the coronavirus than it is ordinary flu viruses. Proper hand washing is recommended. Hand washing is the #1 way to prevent the spread of the virus. Pastor Matthew Magera suggests that we say the Lord’s Prayer while hand washing to insure the full measure of cleanliness.

A portion of these recommendations are taken from Pastor Mark Daniels. Other policies and procedures that our churches are employing need to be shared.  Thank you pastors and staff for your support!

Due to the very mobile society that we live in today, it is anticipated that the virus will spread before being contained.

Please look at this website to see preventive measures recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Click here for the equally helpful World Health Organization site: who.int/…/novel-coronavirus-2…/advice-for-public.

Please also check these five tips for avoiding contracting or spreading the coronavirus from Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health: youtube.com/watch…

For more information, please contact Mary Bates, NALC Disaster Response coordinator at 740-509-1132 or [email protected].

Update, March 8, 2020:

NALC Disaster Response is in need of school kits/supplies for the Donelson Christian Academy and health kits. Consider also sending gift cards and planning a mission trip this summer to help Reformation Lutheran Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee support long-term recovery, that would be extremely helpful. Children’s Bibles and teen Bibles are needed and lots of prayers! Any of these would be helpful at this time. These items can be sent to any of the collection points listed above.

Update, March 7, 2020:

Nashville, Tennessee was devastated by tornadoes Monday, possibly 4 on the ground which went for 80 miles, through Cookeville, Tennessee.

NALC Disaster Response is on the ground with our congregation Reformation Lutheran Church from Hendersonville, Tennessee. Pastor Dean Eatman, volunteers from the Carolinas Mission District, Mary Bates and team are serving hundreds in the impacted area. Twenty four people have died and twenty one are still missing. Pray for these families.

Your help is needed! Bibles, quilts, school kits (4 schools are 100% destroyed), health kits, and gift cards may be shipped or delivered to NALC Disaster Response, 810 Main St, Caldwell, Ohio 43724. Monetary donations may be sent to NALC Disaster Response, 2299 Palmer Dr, Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112.

Update, March 4, 2020:

Thank you Jesus. Pastor Eatman’s sister and family was found safe, several members of Reformation Lutheran Church experienced damages to their homes, they live in the Mount Juliet area, your prayers and support are needed! There have been 24 fatalities, hundreds of homes destroyed, emergency relief supplies are being transported to our churches in Tennessee, loading today, volunteers are needed and to support our volunteers, send monetary donations to NALC Disaster Response, 2299 Palmer Dr., Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112. For more information, contact Mary Bates at [email protected] or 740-509-1132.

Update, March 3, 2020:

Prayers are needed for the families of the seven people killed last night in the Nashville, Tennessee tornadoes. NALC Disaster Response is responding through Reformation Lutheran Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee — thank you Pastor Dean Eatman for reaching out to the community. Members of Reformation were in the path, their status is unknown at this time. I will provide updates as available. To help out this devastated area, send monetary donations/checks to NALC Disaster Response, 2299 Palmer Dr., Suite 220, New Brighton, MN 55112. To donate emergency relief supplies (Bibles, quilts, school kits and health kits are urgently needed), contact Mary Bates at [email protected] or 740-509-1132.

Update, March 2, 2020:

Larry and Deb Vomhof coordinated 25 volunteers from Minnesota to assist with long-term recovery in Dayton, Ohio, February 9-17. They worked on 14 homes, completing most of them so homeowners can now return to their homes after a year has passed. Three tv stations and the local newspaper covered the volunteers (Dayton News) while working at Ronnie’s home and Jesse’s home. All of these homeowners are very poor and really needed the love of Jesus. To schedule your youth and adults during 2020, contact Mary Bates, NALC disaster response coordinator at [email protected].