Do you remember Mr. Rogers, the kind man with the sweater (knitted by his mother) who hosted a children’s TV show for so many years? He said more than once that when he was small and something in the news frightened him, his mom would tell him to look for the helpers, that there are always people helping. And that made him feel better, knowing that there are always people helping their neighbors in times of trouble.
I thought of Mr. Rogers and his mother’s comforting insight when I was reading about the recent hurricanes and the people who are helping in so many ways. And among those helpers we always find people of faith. (Mr. Rogers was a person of faith himself. Did you know he was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian church? The Rev. Mr. Rogers was officially authorized to carry out his ministry in children’s television.)
Anyway, back to those faithful helpers Mr. Rogers’ mom said to look for. Our friends at Lutheran Disaster Response tell us that our church helps in times of trouble as part of a national coalition of helpers called VOAD, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
Lutheran Disaster Response is one of 110 national faith communities (of all faiths) and voluntary organizations who work together with local, state and national government agencies to serve in coordinated and collaborative ways to prepare for and respond to disasters. It really is an incredible movement of organized helpers who carry out their mission effectively and efficiently. What a wonderful way to love and serve our neighbors in times of trouble.
How can people like us join that movement? How can we be among the helpers Fred Rogers’ mother said to look for? Here are two good ways:
Get trained and get organized.
A trained volunteer with a recognized disaster response organization is an effective volunteer. Ask your synod office or local Lutheran Social Services affiliate about training opportunities in your area.
Our friends at Lutheran Disaster Response ask that we send financial contributions, which are the most versatile and useful gifts we can make. When you give through Women of the ELCA, every cent is passed on to Lutheran Disaster Response immediately–and people know that this gift is coming from the women of the church, promoting healing and wholeness in the society and the world.
Support Lutheran Disaster Response by giving through Women of the ELCA. Here’s how:
Make out your check to Women of the ELCA and write “Lutheran Disaster Response” on the memo line.
Mail it to:
Women of the ELCA
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield VA 22116-8009
Audrey Riley is director for development and stewardship for Women of the ELCA.