Although it’s been six months since massive wildfires burned about 750,000 acres and destroyed more than 3,600 houses in Southern California, relief workers say that some people there are still searching for lost belongings.
“In fact, some people are still sifting through the ashes of their homes, looking for items they might reclaim,” said Christy Yoder of the Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR)/Lutheran Social Services (LSS) Southern California staff in a March 31 e-mail from LDR Director Gilbert Furst.
LDR is a cooperative program of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Furst said that LDR “foresees a long-term involvement in the recovery efforts stretching far ahead.”
“The situation … is difficult at best,” he said in the e-mail, after returning from a visit to Southern California. “It has been over a decade since this area has had to work together on a major disaster response, so getting organized to respond is challenging.”
By April 1, LDR had provided grants totaling $199,654 to LSS-Southern California, according to Furst, to “provide case management, emergency grants, and to help with unmet needs. Our commitment is to be present for the long haul, which could mean a number of years.”
“Please keep our Southern California brothers and sisters in your prayers and in your hearts,” Furst said. “For them, new life is slowly rising from the ashes…. Your generosity will help sustain our Lutheran presence to bring help and hope in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Send donations earmarked “California Fires” to LCMS World Relief, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-9810; call the credit-card gift line at (888) 930-4438. Or, go to the online LCMS Mission and Ministry Catalog at http://catalog.lcms.org, click on “Begin Search, then on “Key Word,” type in “Wildfires,” then click on “Help California Fire Victims.”
Posted April 7, 2004