Disaster response personnel unloading a truckWe all know that disasters happen, always without our permission and never on any schedule. Disasters have become a part of our lives – they happen in our communities, in our state, in our country, and throughout the world. What we as United Methodists can do is be prepared for disasters and be ready to respond as soon as possible after disaster strikes.

The Disaster Response Team (DRT) of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church steps quickly into a position to help soon after disaster strikes--just as soon as an area is safe, sanitary and secure. The DRT engages in early response, spiritual and emotional care, as well as long-term recovery efforts, long after immediate agencies have left the scene (many times our team takes more than a year to complete their mission). The Wisconsin Conference DRT calls you to help in any way you can through volunteering and financial support.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is our partner, providing expert assistance in planning, preparation and disaster response. Much of the work of disaster recovery throughout the conference is funded by grants from UMCOR, as well as the generosity of Wisconsin Conference United Methodists as they freely give their time, talents and treasure to recovery efforts.

Wisconsin Flooding Update

As of September 10, 2018, there were 4020 reports of damage.

There are many organizations involved in the clean up and recovery: American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank, Minn-Wi Southern Baptist Convention, Habitat for Humanity, UMCOR, United Way, Knights of Columbus, Crisis Cleanup, Team Rubicon, and Adventist Community Services, along with the Emergency Management from each county and Wisconsin Emergency Management. We are all trying to work together, are all part of Volunteer Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD), and most participate in the conference calls which happen a couple of times a week.

We, the Wisconsin Disaster Response Committee which represents UMCOR, have brought into the state over 5,000 clean up kits (formerly known as flood buckets) 2,000 personal dignity kits, and 2,000 school kits. These total almost half a million dollars in supplies from UMCOR. We had teams from Wisconsin out every weekend for about a month; the Minnesota Conference sent two teams and the Northern Illinois Michigan, and Illinois Great Rivers Conferences each sent one team to help us with clean up. We offered Early Response Team trainings 3 times in September. We have also asked for and received a $10,000 grant from UMCOR to assist with clean-up efforts, and a $30,000 grant from the Wisconsin Foundation.

We, the Wisconsin Disaster Response Committee, have also been communicating with the pastors that are leading clean-up efforts which have asked for our help. We have been communicating with the Wisconsin Volunteers In Mission, the NOMADS, the Wisconsin Foundation, UMCOR, VOAD, and others as this flooding event is changing from an immediate relief effort to a long term recovery program. This transition changes what our assistance looks like, but the DRC is still involved: sending teams, approving purchases of supplies, and answering questions.

Volunteer teams will be wanted and needed for the next year or two, possibly even 3 years, to rebuild homes that were completely destroyed and help repair damaged homes. Please prayerfully consider either joining a Volunteer In Mission work team (contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for dates) OR having your church organize and send a work team (contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or New Lisbon UMC with dates your team would like to work and number of participants)

Please keep the Wisconsin flood victims in your prayers. The water may be gone – or mostly gone - but the damage remains and will for a very long time. It is expected to take years to repair all of the property that was damaged and to help those affected find a new normal, as thing will never be the way they were before the flood.