After the Tornadoes: Emergency Relief in Ohio
On May 27, 2019, a strong storm moved through southwest Ohio and caused 21 separate tornadoes to touch down across ten counties. The high winds led to one fatality and sent dozens of injured people to local hospitals. Many roads, homes, barns, and other structures were destroyed or damaged.
In June, the impacted counties received an official federal disaster declaration, opening up funds to help residents in need. While both the county and state began implementing long-term relief plans for residents, short-term relief was still needed.
Churches of the Nazarene in the area joined the recovery efforts and worked to meet those needs:
• Be Hope Church (formerly Beavercreek), had 1,400 volunteers serve in the first week after the storm and raised about $50,000 for the relief efforts. They have worked on over 150 homes, delivered gift cards to those with immediate needs, and are also provided counseling services to the community.
• Springfield First Church sent their team to Dayton and cleaned up the property of an uninsured homeowner. They were able to remove a damaged pool and other debris and branches.
• Tipp City Church has provided labor to assist the Meinecke family, a retired Nazarene pastor and his wife, outside West Milton, Ohio. Their home suffered severe structural damage. The church also raised money during their Vacation Bible School for disaster relief.
• Troy Church has put together crisis care kits and other essential supplies, delivering them to the Red Cross and other agencies. A team from the church spent time serving in West Milton.
• Vandalia Church has distributed donated clothing and sent volunteer teams into the community to assist with general cleanup. They helped a displaced woman transition into a new home.
We are grateful to these churches and others who prioritized their time to serve people in immediate need. As the weeks and months go on, communities in Ohio will need even more volunteers to aid in recovery, and church communities will continue to fill a vital role as the outstretched hands and feet of Christ.
Photos below provided courtesy of Be Hope Church.