Disaster Response Update 5/30/19

All across Iowa we have had storms, hail, tornados and heavy rain. In the last week we have had several confirmed tornados in Iowa, and one near Adair resulted in a fatality.

Many locations that have experienced flooding are flooded yet again. There are more flood watch and warnings posted, and very heavy rain is expected over the next six days for most of Iowa. Please keep all of these communities in your prayers!

Several communities that have been affected are ready for volunteers.

Some Helpful tips for volunteers:
**Please call ahead and schedule your work day(s).
**If you plan to volunteer for several days, offer to make your own overnight arrangements (most churches near those dealing with disasters are happy to host groups). 
**Plan to bring or arrange for someone in your own group to handle your cooking and meal needs.
HAMBURG: If you would like to volunteer in Hamburg, Iowa, contact:

The Hamburg Volunteer Center — 712-202-5351, 2967 US Hwy 275, Hamburg, Iowa
Pastor Luke Fillmore — 515-419-1179

PACIFIC JUNCTION: If you would like to volunteer in Pacific Junction, Iowa, contact:

Clyde Nelson at the Pacific Junction Fire Department — 402-650-2533  
Pastor Kimberly Bowles in Glenwood, Iowa — 319-929-8716
(Just three miles from Pacific Junction)

HORNICK: If you would like to volunteer in Hornick, Iowa, contact:

Pastor Catie — 712-899-4067,

DAVENPORT/BETTENDORF:  If you would like to volunteer in Davenport or Bettendorf contact:

The Scott County Emergency Management Agency and ask for Gail — 563-484-3050

Other Ways to Help


PRAYING for those affected, those in shelter and those responding.  

DONATING a financial gift to Iowa Disaster Response Special Advance #223. 

REACHING OUT if you know someone who is affected call them, send a note or text. Knowing that others care and are praying makes a HUGE difference.  It’s the best of who we are as a connectional church.

MAKING CLEAN-UP BUCKETS and HYGIENE KITS. We have already delivered several thousand across Iowa and have plans to deliver more. Bring completed Clean-Up Buckets to Annual Conference. We will have one of our Disaster Response Trailers next to the Midwest Missions trailer in the north parking lot. Go to for how to make Clean-up Buckets and Hygiene Kits.

GET TRAINED AND GET A TEAM TOGETHER so that when the time is right you can go and help. At this time only invited, UMCOR Certified ERT Teams are invited to respond in Texas, soon ALL volunteers will be invited. ERT and UMVIM Training will help to prepare you for volunteering. Contact Catie Newman to schedule ERT or UMVIM Training.

Answers to Most Often Asked Questions

I would like to go help. I can cook and am very handy, when can I go?
We really prefer teams, individuals are hard to find work for. However, contact the site you would like to work with and ask them if they can use your unique gifts. Please DO NOT simply show up. It can really cause problems.
Can we donate other items?
No. At this time ONLY Clean-Up Buckets, Hygiene Kits and Financial Gifts are requested. I know that other groups are collecting other items, but there is no place to take them and no one to handle them at this time. In the future, we will be able to help in more ways.

Do Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits have to be complete?
Yes! If they are packed in a bucket. Extra items can be boxed and marked  “Extra Items”.  

Where do I find the list of what goes into a kit?
Go to or on the Iowa Annual Conference website look for “In-Gathering Kits”
Can we send the extra kit items that we have?
Yes, but they must be packed in boxes and clearly marked “Miscellaneous Extra Hygiene Kit Items” (or bucket items). You can also send these to In-Gathering, clearly marked.
Do we send money for shipping?
No. Any and all financial donations can be sent directly the conference center for Iowa Disaster Response, Special Advance #223, or donate online here.
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
16 to take ERT Training and must have a parent or guardian on the team. 18 to serve on a team alone. UMVIM Leader Training is for the LEADER of the team.
Serving on UMVIM teams depends on host needs, team makeup and safety requirements, (many teams have youth and adults working together).

What is the difference between ERT and UMVIM?
ERT – Early Response Training is from UMCOR.

UMVIM — United Methodist Volunteers in Mission.

VIM — This training is helping you to know how to lead a team, focused more on Long Term Team Response.

ERT — Emergency or Early Response Team is more hands on, immediate response. What to and not to do, what to expect when you get to a recovery site, how to "be" with survivors, focused more on immediate response in the first days after the disaster. ERT Teams are self-sufficient (sleep on floors, cook their own meals, etc.) and are there in the first days after a disaster to help in whatever ways that they can. ERT Teams may help recover possessions, clean out homes, move survivors into new housing, tarp roofs, cook meals for community or a variety of other tasks. ERT Training is great for volunteers who come later also as it helps with shared language, expectations and how to deal with the clean-up we will be asked to do.

The trainings work together very well.
How do I register for the training?
For ERT or UMVIM Training, email Catie Newman at

Feel Free to contact the District Disaster Coordinator in your District or Conference Coordinator Catie Newman with further questions.

Iowa Conference Disaster Response Coordinators: Catie and John Newman, CDRC or
Catie: 712-899-4067 (phone or text)   
District Disaster Response Coordinators (DDRC)
Southwest – Vicki Wedemeyer-Shriver,
North Central – Gary and Shirley Haupert,
Gary - 515-391-0322, Shirley - 515-391-1025 
Central – Bill Gibbons 
South Central – Sharoll and Hal Edmundson,
East Central – Andrew Happ,
Northeast – Phil Rogers,
Southeast – Don Timmermann,
Northwest – Jena Manchester,  


2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA 50321 (515) 974-8900