Mercy arm issues flood-relief appeals

LCMS World Relief and Human Care issued two appeals to donors — one via e-mail in mid-June and another by regular mail a month later — to help meet the needs of those whose lives have been devastated by severe storms and flooding in the Midwest.

Generous donors have made it possible for the Synod mercy arm to provide a total of $79,550 so far this year in emergency disaster grants to Lutheran congregations, districts, and social ministry organizations to help those in need. In addition, a number of grant requests were being considered as this issue went to press.

Rev. Glenn Merritt and Rev. Carlos Hernandez — LCMS World Relief and Human Care’s director of Disaster Response and director, Districts and Congregations, respectively — also were still working with 226 LCMS families affected by flooding in the Midwest.

In the July mail appeal, LCMS WR-HC Executive Director Matthew Harrison calls attention to the “immeasurable devastation” caused by recent Midwest flooding — “3.4 million acres flooded, $8 billion estimated agricultural losses. Almost 189 counties declared disaster areas.

“The need is immense — we must help,” he wrote, urging donors to “please join in this vast effort today. Your donation in any amount, be it $50, $100, $500, or substantially more, will bring temporary shelter, crucial food, water, and emergency medicines to many families.”

The June e-mail appeal addresses needs resulting from spring floods and tornadoes that hit communities in Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado. LCMS WR-HC also has provided emergency disaster grants this year for storm and flood relief in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

Send donations designated “Flood Relief 2008” to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 68661, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861. Or, call the credit-card gift line at (888) 930-4438. Online gifts also may be made at

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans also last month announced an effort to generate $1.5 million for flood relief in Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin. To reach that amount, Thrivent Financial’s chapter members would provide $1 million from donations and fundraising, with the remainder provided by Thrivent Financial.

For the Thrivent campaign, the organization would distribute half the flood-relief funds through its regional offices to organizations and others in the three affected states. The remainder would be directed to Lutheran Disaster Response — a cooperative effort of the Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) — and to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Committee on Relief.

“Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a remarkable organization with a tremendous capacity to engage its members in acts of compassion,” Merritt wrote in an e-mail to Reporter following announcement of the Thrivent appeal.

Noting that it “has the unique capacity to quickly rally its members to action,” Merritt continued, “Thrivent Financial and its members have proven themselves to be generous and caring partners in disaster relief, particularly over the past few years. They are an invaluable asset in a comprehensive Lutheran response to disasters. This appeal further strengthens our relationship.”

Posted Aug. 7, 2008 

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