By Rev. Mike Dowd, Disaster Response Coordinator for Louisville and Winston County
Photo right: This UMCOR work team from Matthews UMC in Matthews, North Carolina is helping in Winston County.
Quietly, behind the scenes, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been working hand in hand with Winston Strong to rebuild our community following the April 2014 tornado. UMCOR has been doing this by helping to coordinate teams of volunteers from United Methodist Churches across the southeast and by making funds available.
It was UMCOR that came in four weeks after the tornado hit our community and began training case managers for Winston Strong. Those case managers have been invaluable in our rebuilding efforts. They work closely with their cases and find all available resources to help people begin to put their lives back together. Without the training provided by UMCOR, we would only now begin to have these individuals in place.
UMCOR had already made more than $40,000 available to help with individual needs as the case managers work to find resources for those in need. Winston Strong disaster relief fund has been working with the case managers to help put people back into their homes. However, the disaster relief fund is now low and we do not know how long we can continue to help those in need.
Once again, UMCOR has stepped in to give a helping hand to Winston County. During a recent meeting, UMCOR representative Greg Forrester committed UMCOR to give $100,000 in matching funds for any money raised after November 12, 2014. This may very well be enough money for Winston County to complete our rebuilding needs. But first we must raise the matching funds.
For this reason, we are beginning a fund raising campaign on social media, newspaper, radio and television. We are asking individuals to give as they can. If you give $5.00 it becomes $10.00. Every gift to Winston Strong Disaster Relief Fund automatically doubles.
We have set a target date of January 24, 2015 for achieving our goal of raising our $100,000 in matching funds. Join us as we work together to rebuild our community.
For further information and to donate, go to www.winstonstrong.org. Winston Strong is a 501(c) 3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.