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Six Tips for Assembling Disaster Kits

I recently encountered this statistic from FEMA: Of more than 3,000 counties in the United States, 99% of U.S. counties experienced a flood event from 1996 to 2022.

Most recently in our Synod, seven counties in southeast Texas, in New Covenant Presbytery, were impacted by heavy rain, river flooding, and straight-line winds beginning on April 26, 2024 and continuing for several weeks after. Because of these storms, 720 homes have been reported as suffering major damage or being destroyed (Red Cross).

Cleanup buckets have been one of the supplies requested by organizations serving communities impacted by these recent storms. Disaster cleanup buckets are one of several pre-assembled kits Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) invites individuals, groups, and congregations to prepare and donate as a tangible offering of compassion and care that can be shared with our neighbors in need at just the right time.

Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center’s Disaster Assistance Center serves as a designated site for receiving, inspecting, building, storing, and shipping cleanup buckets and other kits in partnership with PDA and Church World Service. Emily Hooker, Ferncliff’s Director of Mission &

Outreach reports that from January to May of 2024, Ferncliff has shipped 13,657 total pounds of supplies to impacted communities, including:

  • 219 clean up buckets

  • 31 bales wool blankets

  • 50 cartons of fleece blankets

  • 51 cartons of hygiene kits

  • 49 cartons of toothpaste tubes

  • 22 cartons of welcome backpacks

  • 19 cartons of period packs

  • 3 cartons of school kits

Churches and groups from all over the country can send assembled kits, kit supplies, or monetary donations to the Ferncliff’s Disaster Assistance Center. Since January 2024, Ferncliff’s DAC has shipped 219 cleanup buckets and over 13,000 pounds of supplies to impacted communities.

Assembling cleanup buckets or other supportive kits is an easy, hands-on activity for families, groups, and congregations to participate in to support disaster ministry across the Synod and beyond. Here are six tips to get you started with this important ministry:

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