Responding to Flooding in Louisiana

When you read the numbers, your eyes literally do a double take.  There are 137,000 residents in Livingston Parish and over 105,000 of those residents lost their homes. The devastation in the parish just east of Baton Rouge is unfathomable.

“I don’t think I’ve fully comprehended it. said an emotional Rev. Jackie King. “I’ve seen people arrive here to the church and say, ‘I just spent $90 on cleaning supplies with $90 I don’t have.’ I’ve stood with church members as they stare at their home and silently ask ‘Where do we start?’ as they stand in their driveway absolutely paralyzed.  

 
-from the Louisiana Conference web page, August 21, 2016  Read More here.
 
Torrential August rains have caused devastating flooding in Louisiana and the cleanup efforts are just beginning.  In a video on Facebook, Bishop Cynthia Harvey explains that peoples’ lives have been devastated and many people have lost everything. Recovery will require patience as the cleaning and rebuilding will take months or years.  She asks for our prayers as the people of Louisiana deal with the flooding – prayers for patience, position and posture to deal with things now and in the future.  She has seen visions of hope as people help one another, but prayer is a great need.
 
Financial donations are also welcome, and UMCOR has been on site delivering nearly 3,000 cleanup buckets with another 2,000 ready to be shipped to the most vulnerable places.  Teams are also assembling even more cleanup buckets to meet the demand.  
 
Louisiana experienced massive flooding earlier this spring, and UMCOR had just approved a long-term disaster-response grant when the latest storms hit, affecting some of the same areas.  Several Methodist churches have been converted to shelters and UMCOR is collaborating with FEMA and other disaster response agencies.
 
If you want to help, please pray for the people of Louisiana daily.  You may also write a check to BUMC and put “Louisiana” in the memo line and we will forward the funds for you.  If you would like to donate via credit card, please go to the UMCOR donation link
.  At this time only trained teams of volunteers are needed in Louisiana.
 
To read more about UMCOR’s response, click 
.  A link to Bishop Harvey’s message is on the Bozeman United Methodist Church Facebook page, and there is much more information on the situation in Baton Rouge at http://www.la-umc.org.
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Project Fresh Start

jail  There is a relatively new voluntary program at the Gallatin County Detention Center called Project Fresh Start, and its purpose is to help reduce recidivism by getting people recently released from jail on a path to a better lifestyle.  This is done by coordinating services such as housing, food, clothing, transportation and services before the inmate is released.
 
Project Fresh Start (PFS) took several years to develop.  Our own Dave Young, who is also a Gallatin County Chaplain, and Roxanne Klingensmith from St. James Episcopal Church are two of the primary forces behind it.  PFS is run through the Gallatin County Detention Center (GCDC) and overseen by Tiffani Pimley, Program Coordinator.  It has the full support of the GCDC and funds are run through the Gallatin County Treasurer.
 
Project Fresh Start focuses on people with absolutely no resources.  These are not a protected class of people, but they are people who have made poor choices.  The program is all voluntary, and PFS worked with over 100 people last year.  Treatment for mental health and substance abuse as well as development of job connections begins while inmates are still in jail.  The first 48 hours are crucial to reducing recidivism, but some of these people have nowhere to go upon release.  Often former friends and family are drug users or live in unsuitable situations.  Upon release inmates may not have any money, identification, or even proper clothing because they are released with exactly what they had when arrested.  If they were arrested in July wearing shorts and flip flops, that’s what they have to wear when released in February.

PFS, with help from a variety of faith communities in Bozeman, including BUMC, has established a revolving loan fund to help newly released people get into pre-arranged housing.  PFS also spends money on clothing, shoes, taxi vouchers, copies of birth certificate, state ID’s and other things as needed.  This grass roots effort is the only service like this operating in Montana, and it’s making a difference in the lives of those who truly want to make a change in their lives

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VBS Mission Project Results

 
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Vacation Bible School is an amazing event!  Hundreds of folks, young and old participate every June and get to share the love of Jesus, make new friends, help others and have lots of fun!  Each year there is a Mission Outreach project to benefit the community, and here’s what was collected this year:
 
Day 1.  Mission Outreach to BUILD helping RELATIONSHIPS: diapers/wipes/money for Children in Need in our community Donated dozens of packages of diapers and wipes, etc ; given to Family Promise and Love Inc.
Day 2.  Mission Outreach to BUILD loving HOMES: money for Habitat for Humanity.  Donated $107.00
Day 3.  Mission Outreach to BUILD strong FAITH:  money to help build chapel at Intermountain. Donated $812.00
Day 4.  Mission Outreach to BUILD healthy BODIES:  collect food for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.  Donated 250 lbs.
Day 5   Mission Outreach to BUILD smart BRAINS: collect used books for Mobile Library.   Donated 80 books.
 
THANK YOU to everyone who donated, organized, and helped distribute these goods and funds.  Your generosity makes a big difference to many people.
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