A flooded street after heavy summer storms in southeastern, paSummer storms are causing deep heartache and trauma around the world. Here at Lutheran Congregational Services, our hearts and prayers go out especially to families in Hawaii who are still facing terrible uncertainties about the fate of loved ones.

The Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is working with leaders in Pacifica Synod and other partners to assess the needs of people impacted by the wildfires. LDR will work with them to provide for immediate needs and recovery amid the widespread destruction. LDR is committed to accompanying recovering communities in the years ahead.

More locally, heavy rains in early July caused significant damage to homes in Berks and Northampton Counties. The week after, torrential rains left six dead and one missing in Bucks County in July. Lutherans locally stepped up immediately to assist those impacted by these storms.

Volunteers from several Lutheran churches, and as far away as Slatington, volunteered at the Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Exeter Township, Berks County, in July, to help folks register with Crisis Cleanup; an online tool we along with our partners in disaster response use to identify families and homes that need help cleaning out immediately after a storm.

One of the groups that helps to do muck outs and debris removal is Team Rubicon, a veterans organization with specially trained volunteers who often travel to assist families with cleanout. Reformation Lutheran Church in Exeter stepped up to host Team Rubicon for the week as their volunteers were in town to help families here in Berks County.

Pastor Paul Metzloff said it was “a no brainer,” when the opportunity presented itself. Given that Team Rubicon came with their own cots and really only needed space to sleep, hosting them was no problem. They partnered with a local gym so that volunteers could shower.

Bringing help and hope in the name of Jesus has long been important to Lutherans. In this time of volatile and extreme weather, we are so grateful for those who are partnering with LCS to serve those who have the most challenging barriers to recovery.

Unmet needs we are uncovering include the loss of four private bridges in Northampton County, and several whose furnaces and appliances were ruined in Berks County. We welcome volunteers who would like to staff resource centers, make call backs, provide administrative services, and swing a hammer as recovery in Berks and Northampton Counties will likely go on for months and longer.

As storms become more frequent, your donations are more important than ever. If you’d like to be kept in the loop as opportunities arise, please follow us on Facebook or email Julia Frank at jfrank@libertylutheran.org to be put on our distribution list. God bless.