The Marion District of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church has been hard-hit by hurricanes and flooding over the past few years. It is home to hundreds of families still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018.
In an effort to be better prepared to respond to future disasters more effectively, the Marion District is raising $6,000 to buy and equip an Early Response Team trailer.
“Our ERT volunteers leave their homes, often for days at a time, to help complete strangers,” said the Rev. Tim Rogers, Marion District superintendent. “It says a lot about our church’s desire to be there for people who find themselves vulnerable after a disaster.
“We would appreciate any donations that will help us provide them with the proper tools and equipment to be able to respond quickly and safely.”
Brian Nolan, the Marion District disaster response coordinator, said the district is fortunate to have about 30 trained ERT volunteers.
“During last year’s flooding, teams of ERT volunteers from all across the country came to the Pee Dee region to help clean out homes, tarp roofs, and clear debris and fallen trees in an effort to help homeowners start the long process of rebuilding their homes,” Nolan said.
“It is time for us to repay that kindness by forming our own team to help others. Our need is simple for now – we need to buy a work trailer to carry our tools.”
A United Methodist Early Response Team is a group of specially trained volunteers who – at the invitation of local emergency management officials – move into an area where a disaster has struck. ERTs provide emergency repairs and assistance to help return people to safe, sanitary and secure living conditions until other, long-term help is available.
Maintaining an ERT trailer equipped with the appropriate tools, equipment and safety gear needed for most disaster response jobs enables these volunteers to quickly deploy when called, and allows them to be more effective in their work.