Disaster Response and Resources
Update: The Disaster Relief Fund will be available to support congregations affected by the fires in California.
Our UU friends and neighbors in Florida and the Caribbean—including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—have experienced extraordinary devastation following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
We invite you to contribute to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund (formerly the Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund) so the UUA can provide financial assistance to UU congregations impacted by these and other natural disasters. In addition to facilitating their own disaster recovery, congregations receiving disaster relief funds will have discretion to provide financial assistance to their members, as well as to support local partner organizations serving the community at large. The Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) may apply on behalf of CLF members living in disaster areas.
Puerto Rico's situation is especially severe. To contribute aid beyond the Unitarian Universalist sphere, there are many organizations on the ground doing important work, such as the Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund, United for Puerto Rico, a collaboration between the Government of Puerto Rico and the Private Sector, or Plan PR: A Just RICANstruction. As for the U.S. Virgin Islands, consider supporting the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands Relief Fund.
We know that long after the initial clean-up, real recovery can take months or years. Your donations will allow the UUA to respond flexibly to this tragedy and to new situations as they arise.
Donate to the Disaster Relief Fund. Funds raised to date: $290,000+
To donate by mail, please make check payable to the UUA with "Disaster Relief Fund" on the memo line, and send to UUA Gift Processing, 24 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma—the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded—the Caribbean and much of Florida has experienced significant damage. A week after the storm, some communities were still without power; in Key West it's estimated that 25% of all housing has been destroyed. The grounds of the UU Congregation of Greater Naples served as a FEMA staging area in the days following Irma.
The UUA established a Disaster Relief Fund (originally the Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund) to assist congregations, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in repairing any damage, and to respond to the needs of their members' and their community's efforts to get back on its feet.
As the Caribbean and coastal U.S. continues to be threatened by additional storms, your donations will allow the UUA to respond flexibly as new situations arise.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall with devastating impacts to an area of the United States that millions call home. Much of Texas and the Gulf Coast region is still coping with the flooding and damage Harvey wrought. We are holding all of those affected in our hearts and prayers. To be of service to the communities to which we are connected, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) have created a joint recovery fund.
Half of all Hurricane Harvey funds raised will go to at-risk populations served by UUSC partners and the other half of the funds will support Unitarian Universalist congregations and members of those congregations most affected by the storm. We understand that devastation from Harvey is widespread and we hope that by joining together in areas where we have expertise and deep connection, we can make the greatest impact.
Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund | Funds raised to date: $400,000+
We are deeply grateful to the 2,800 individual donors, as well as more than 75 UU congregations who have collectively contributed in excess of $400,000 to the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. Our friends and neighbors in Florida and the Caribbean have experienced major devastation following Hurricanes Irma and Maria and need significant assistance. We invite you to contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund.
How Will Donations Be Disbursed?
UUA staff is working closely with leaders in the UUA’s Southern Region to learn where the need is greatest and to distribute recovery funds efficiently. We are grateful for the generous support this fund has already received and we continue to process new gifts daily.
UU congregations in the regions affected, as well as recognized UU entities involved in recovery efforts are eligible to apply for recovery fund grants. Congregations receiving hurricane recovery funds will have discretion to provide financial assistance to families directly affected by these storms.
The Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) is organizing volunteers to help with disaster relief efforts associated with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out their online form and someone will be in touch with you. (In the coming months, UUCSJ will be putting together volunteer trips to the affected areas in coordination with on-the-ground partners.)
Resources for Coping and Trauma Response
If you or a loved one personally experienced trauma during the Hurricane or as a result of the storm’s impact, the UUA may be able to help. Please contact the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry at their toll free number: (888) 760-3332.
In addition to the individuals, families, and communities that are still coping with the direct effects of Harvey, we know that people and families indirectly impacted also need our support. The UUA has resources for congregations, individuals, and families who have experienced a disaster or other traumatic event. Learn more about:
- Handling Trauma in the Aftermath of a Disaster
- Supporting Children in the Face of Disaster or Trauma
- Natural Disaster Responses
- Planning for Disasters for the Congregation and Building
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