It has been almost 3 weeks since the deadly flash flood hit Ellicott City on July 30. A lot of structures and systems are now set in place and there is greater clarity with regard to what short term relief and long term recovery will involve.
1. Where are we as the Ellicott City community with regard to EC flood disaster response?
There are three phases to disaster response. (1) The first phase is the immediate or emergency response. This phase lasts a few days or a week. During this phase, government agencies are activated, first responders address emergency needs, and disaster relief organizations are mobilized. The immediate response phase ended about a week-and-a-half ago.
(2) The second phase is short term relief. This phase lasts a couple of weeks or a month or two. During this phase recovery systems are created and short term needs are addressed. We are presently in this phase with the EC flood, so we are seeing things happening like communication clarified, mud cleaned out of houses and businesses, mold remediation, and networking of government, faith based, and non-profit organizations. During this phase, most volunteer opportunities in the EC area require trained disaster relief workers due to HAZMAT conditions and the specialized work of proper mold remediation.
(3) The third phase is long term recovery. This phase takes several months or years to complete depending upon the extent of the damage. During this phase, more volunteers can be mobilized as the work site(s) are clean and structurally sound. During this phase volunteers are involved in rebuilding projects (decks, walls, porches, maybe even entire houses), rebuilding businesses, and other sorts of construction projects. We are not yet in this phase with the EC flood.
2. How has Metanoia been involved in immediate response and short term relief?
We’ve been involved in the following ways during the immediate response and short term relief phases:
“Mucking out” / “mud out” projects. We have partnered with our denomination’s (Southern Baptist) disaster relief arm through the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network (MABN, also called Baptist Convention of MD/DE or BCMD) to “muck out” / “mud out” houses. Mucking out / mud out means exactly what it sounds like–physically removing contaminated mud and debris from houses, cleaning and sanitizing the area, and conducting mold remediation. This past Saturday (August 13), Metanoia deployed volunteers to muck out businesses in the business district, residents in west end (western part of Main St/Frederick Rd), and residents in parts of western Ellicott City that were also affected by the flood. Volunteers also prayer walked through west end and also helped with watershed cleaning.
- Networking. Metanoia is networking with other churches, denominations, non-profits, businesses, residents (primarily in the west end area), and the Howard County government to coordinate efforts and make plans for long term recovery. For example, last week Pastor Adam attended a meeting with several other representatives from other churches and non-profits to begin a discussion for long term collaboration. Erika Seth, Richard Smart, and Pastor Art Wong also attended the meeting as representatives of Metanoia.
- Spiritual and financial resourcing. We’ve also been involved in prayer walking in the west end and raising finances to help facilitate long term recovery efforts in the EC area. To donate to EC flood response, visit: http://metanoiachurch.org/ec-flood-relief-donations/
3. How can I get involved in volunteering?
Metanoia is partnering with other networks and HoCo government. Earlier this week, Pastors Adam Feldman and Jesse Florida were involved in meetings with Howard County (HoCo) government officials and representatives of the MD VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to coordinate our volunteer efforts, plan for long term recovery, and reduce the risk of redundancy in our relief efforts. During that time, we collaboratively determined how volunteers can sign up to help and how they will be communicated with (see the next bullet point).
- Register to volunteer through the VC. All organizations involved in EC flood recovery (including Metanoia, HoCo government, VOAD groups, churches, etc) and individuals desiring to serve must register with The Volunteer Center Serving Howard County (VC). Metanoia is already registered with the VC as a group and will “adopt” certain projects through the VC. Then, Metanoia will recruit volunteers from within our church to serve. However, if you wish to volunteer as an individual for more than just the projects Metanoia is doing, you must be registered with the VC. Here’s the link: https://www.volunteerhoward.org/ (Note: as of this week, all other volunteer systems previously used–the Ellicott City Partnership (ECP) and HoCo Recreation and Parks–have transitioned to using the VC. Thus, all volunteer efforts are now in collaboration together.)
**IF YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER AS AN INDIVIDUAL, GO TO THE VC WEBSITE RIGHT NOW AND REGISTER! https://www.volunteerhoward.org/**
4. What are our staff pastors doing as part of the EC flood recovery?
You may want to know more about how things are working “behind the scenes” and what staff Pastors Adam Feldman and Jesse Florida are doing to assist in short term relief. Here are their current duties with regard to the short term relief phase of EC flood response.
Jesse Florida: serving as volunteer coordinator and community liaison. Jesse’s responsibilities include the following: (1) Communicating with short term relief assessors in the area who are identifying needs, and then translating those needs into volunteer work projects. (2) Populating the VC (see above) with volunteer opportunities, and then the VC handles sign-ups. (3) Networking with residents and business owners to determine unique ways we as a church can support their recovery. (4) Coordinating efforts with HoCo government to make sure we avoid redundancy and to assist in recovery efforts that fall outside of HoCo’s capacity. (5) Serving as a point person (along with the County) to receive reports of needs so that they are addressed.
As you can imagine, this is a tremendous amount of work, which is why Jesse is being compensated for additional hours through funds raised by our networks (see August 2 update). Think of Jesse as our “boots on the ground” guy.
Adam Feldman: serving as local VOAD representative and coordinating communication within Metanoia, Southern Baptist networks, and among VOAD groups. Adam’s responsibilities include the following: (1) Representing local VOAD groups (churches, non-profits) in meetings with the County. (2) Helping to network faith communities and other non-profits along with VOAD organizations in preparation for collaborative long term recovery. Think of Adam as our “big picture” guy.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support for the Ellicott City community. Let’s press on!