In early February, severe flooding hit several areas in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. Without hesitation, Adventists across the state mobilized along with other disaster relief ministries. Students from Walla Walla University, Walla Walla Valley Academy and elsewhere filled almost 40,000 bags of sand. Adventist volunteers served meals, churches offered a gathering place, and SonBridge Education Center was on standby as an overnight shelter for survivors.
Adventist Community Services sent a trailer with 146 flood buckets filled last spring by Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinders that were distributed in Waitsburg, Dayton, Walla Walla and Pendleton. In addition, Adventist ministers brought emotional and spiritual care to survivors. WWU’s Center for Humanitarian Engagement, directed by David Lopez, coordinated large numbers of university volunteers.
Phil Ruud and his wife, Linda, arranged for a multiagency donations warehouse to be opened in Pendleton that coordinated the various donations for people in need. The warehouse was able to be leased for only $1 within a few days of the flooding, saving Umatilla County a considerable amount of money. The warehouse provided clothing, food, furniture and other necessities for community members affected by the flood. The multiagency warehouse was open every day from Feb. 21 until the coronavirus-related stay-at-home order was issued by Oregon’s governor at the end of March.
While sitting in multiagency meetings throughout the disaster, Patty Marsh, UCC Adventist Community Services director, recognized how appreciative leaders and responders are to the various ways Adventists have brought support to individuals and communities. “All glory to God as our local governments have seen how we, as a community, have been able to respond to help out our neighbors,” says Marsh.
Donations are still being accepted to help those affected by these floods. For more information, visit uccsda.org. The need is still great in these areas, and UCC Adventist Community Services could use your prayers.