Reformed Church World Service is now the RCA CARE Network.
Why the change?
A New Name. CARE stands for Compassionate Action and Relief Efforts. Compassionate action and relief are the keys to success for both immediate needs and long term recovery. Hurricanes Sandy and Irene helped us realize how important RCA congregations are in the midst of a disaster. In both disasters, RCA congregations became centers for distribution, volunteer teams, and local knowledge and connection.
A Renewed Partnership. The RCA has partnered over the years with many organizations and our relationship with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee has grown deeper and wider. CRWRC is now World Renew and they are now our primary partner in domestic disaster response. This opens up many opportunities to RCA members as volunteers and allows us to respond both immediately and for the long term. World Renew is an organization that is greatly respected in the disaster response world, by both faith based organizations and governmental agencies.
A New Partner. When it comes to international disasters, we are piloting a new relationship with World Vision. World Vision brings a size and a scope of response to many places in the world especially in the area of immediate needs and concern for children and families. Depending on the location of major international disasters, World Vision will be a part of the RCA's CARE Network response.
Collaboration. Church World Service brings together many denominations; because of that it can respond in ways that just one of those members cannot. In many places, Church World Service or one of its other members may be situated in the best place to respond, and rather than duplicate that response, the RCA will collaborate through one or more of our many relationships around the world.
How You Can Help
You can come alongside the CARE Network to help people who are impacted by hunger, poverty, or natural disasters.
- Pray for people who are affected.
- Contribute money for specific disaster relief or for the CARE Network's ministry in general. Click on the "Make a Donation" button to contribute online, and choose the project you'd like to support from the designation drop-down menu on the donation page.
- Volunteer your time to help disaster recovery efforts. Volunteer opportunities, including disaster response projects, are posted each month at www.rca.org/volunteers.
Early Response Continues after Oklahoma Tornado
World Renew early response coordinators Rich and Pat Grasman were in Moore, Oklahoma, on Friday, following up on a devastating May 20 tornado, when another tornado touched down in the area.
"The tornado came over our motel, touching down just a block way," the Grasmans wrote in an email. "We left the motel and headed south, thinking we could get out of the path of the storm along with many others. We got stuck in traffic about five miles south of Moore and no one was moving. We got out of the path of the tornado, but the storm headed south, and we sat through straight-line winds and a lot of rain, praying for our own safety.
"We came through safely."
The Grasmans were assessing needs following the May 20 tornado and resourcing a local committee to lead the long-term response. Now, they are expanding their disaster response work to include the latest tornado, which hit on May 31. "Join us in giving thanks for our safety this far, and pray for the new area affected," they wrote.
How you can help
CARE Network Plans Long-Term Sandy Response
As the CARE Network continues responding to immediate needs following Superstorm Sandy, it's also planning long-term recovery efforts.
"CARE Network first responds to urgent needs, enhancing what RCA churches are situated to do, and then longer-range responses of rebuilding and recovery," says CARE Network coordinator Jay Harsevoort.
First-wave response efforts have included $18,000 in disbursements to assist RCA churches and ministries that are providing meals, supplies, and shelter for people in need. Donations of approximately $67,000 have been received, with funds still coming in from churches and individuals. Donate to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.
- Financial support. "Money is still the most important," CARE Network coordinator Jay Harsevoort says, pointing out that money can be transferred to impacted areas faster than items can be shipped, and it allows for a more nimble response at a time when needs are changing daily. "If people want to organize drives, they need to contact RCWS so we can get them a current list of specific needs," he says. Make a gift to CARE Network Hurricane Relief, or contact CARE Network at (800) 968-3943, ext. 243.
- Prayer. Please pray for people who are still without power in increasingly cold weather, for churches that need to restock food pantries, and for people who are homeless due to flooding and storm surge. Pray for people who are making plans to volunteer, and for the immediate efforts to assess damage to houses and other buildings.
- Volunteers are not needed yet, but groundwork is being laid. To sign up for a volunteer team through World Renew Disaster Response Services, contact Nancy Ellens (800-968-3943, ext. 243, or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Becky Purdom (800-848-5818).
- Spread the word. Download a bulletin insert and/or copy and paste this announcement into your bulletin: Join the CARE Network to respond to Superstorm Sandy, which has impacted millions of people. Visit www.rca.org/sandy to make a donation or to get the latest volunteer opportunities or news updates about impacted RCA congregations. Please pray for our brothers and sisters who have been affected.
News and Updates