Appeal Update #2: 2013 U.S. Tornadoes, Storms and Floods

June 18, 2013

Revised Appeal Goal: $120,000
Received to Date: $27,000


While severe storms continue to pound many of the U.S. Midwestern and Eastern states, dry conditions in the West have resulted in dangerous wildfires in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Of immediate concern is the Black Forest Fire in El Paso County north of Colorado Springs, Colo.  Since it started on June 11, this wind-driven fire has killed two and injured one as it has burned more than 14,000 acres.  It has destroyed 482 structures, including 379 homes.  These numbers may increase until the blaze is fully contained and damage assessments completed.

The firefighting efforts continue and involve 1,175 personnel.  Fire crews are making progress and the blaze is now 75 percent contained, but the Black Forest Fire remains large and dangerous and could still expand depending on wind and weather conditions.  As many as 38,000 residents have evacuated and, until the blaze is fully contained, thousands more are alerted to be ready to evacuate.

Immediate sheltering and feeding operations for evacuees and first responders are being conducted by the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, with many local and regional agencies in support.  Many local CWS member congregations are directly involved with these efforts.

CWS Response:

CWS has shipped the following material goods for use in the relief effort: 1,020 CWS Blankets, 510 CWS School Kits, 540 CWS Hygiene Kits and 500 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets. These CWS material goods are valued at over $47,100. They are going to the Springs Adventist Academy in Colorado Springs, which will serve as a point of distribution to shelters.

CWS Emergency Response Specialist Ku’ulei Funn, along with Art Ziemann and Deniese Estrada from CWS Funds Development and Marketing, are in close contact with the many organizations involved to identify the needs of the survivors. When the community is ready, CWS emergency response specialists will provide training to newly formed long-term recovery groups.

CWS continues to support the tornado-battered communities around Oklahoma City, including Moore, Norman, Shawnee and others.  CWS Emergency Response Specialist Sandra Kennedy-Owes is in Oklahoma City all this week, meeting with numerous community organizations to help newly formed long-term recovery groups get off to a successful start. She will help with their early organizing efforts, arrange training by CWS and by CWS member communions, accept applications for CWS long-term recovery start-up grants, and gather and share  information about the communities’ needs. To date, CWS has shipped material goods valued at over $61,000 to Oklahoma.

Additionally, CWS continues to collect information about many other storms, tornadoes and flood events that have occurred in recent weeks. CWS will support affected communities with CWS material goods, CWS long-term recovery group start-up grants, and long-term recovery training and consultation.

CWS emergency response specialists for this appeal are:

Sandra Kennedy-Owes  (251) 725-4262 (Alabama)
Susanne Gilmore  (785) 477-7823 (Kansas)
Ku’ulei Funn  (808) 226-6432 (Hawaii)
Joann Hale or, (917) 705-3038 (New York).


Total is $120,000. This includes:

  • $40,000 for material resources processing and shipping
  • $40,000 for emergency response grants to long-term recovery groups (projected eight grants of $5,000/each)
  • $40,000 for on-scene training and consultation

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination/communion or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: 2013 Tornadoes, Appeal #627-Y.) Donations may also be made online.

CONCERNING CWS MATERIAL GOODS:  Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, CWS has been able to help meet the needs of the survivors of recent disasters. In recent months the demands have been great in the United States and across the globe and CWS warehouse stocks are rapidly being depleted. The most immediate need is for CWS Baby Care Kits and CWS Emergency Clean-Up Buckets. CWS also has continuing demand for its other material goods, including CWS  Blankets, CWS Hygiene Kits and CWS School Kits. Generous support to restock the warehouses will help CWS respond to current and future needs of disaster survivors.  Learn more.

If you have other supplies that you believe may be of help, contact a CWS emergency response specialist to see whether the materials can be used and, if so, where.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.