By Kathy Yenser, AiM
“We still need help. Please don’t forget about us!”
Kara VerHage and Cindy Johnson, Lutheran Social Service (LSS) in Minnesota,
heard this repeatedly on a recent trip to Mississippi and Alabama. They
were amazed at the level of physical destruction that still exists since
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005.
Even sadder are the fears and personal struggles that people continue
to face from the effects of the hurricanes. According to the Minneapolis
Star Tribune, New Orleans is in the midst of a mental health crisis, with
suicide rates having nearly tripled and the few remaining psychiatrists
being swamped with cases of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and
The children who experienced the hurricanes are in various stages of
recovery. Some are still afraid and depressed, suffer from sleep problems,
and struggle with wondering where God is in the midst of this disaster.
Other children who have progressed in their recovery need to develop a sense
of empowerment and preparedness for dealing with recurring severe weather.
LSS’s partners in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana want
to reach out to the children by offering Camp Noah 1 and Camp Noah 2 this
summer. Camp Noah is a therapeutic, fun-filled, faith-based, week-long day
camp for children who are recovering from natural disaster. Camp Noah 1
is the basic camp. Camp Noah 2 is a new curriculum that
teaches children resiliency in response to recurring severe weather.
Leaders addressing the disaster at the Gulf Coast estimate a need for
60 camps this summer. They are asking for LSS-Minnesota to staff a minimum
of 30 volunteer teams for areas where they are physically and emotionally
unable as a community to organize and staff a Camp Noah with local volunteers.
Lutheran Disaster Response Network of Northeastern Pennsylvania (LDRN-NEPA),
a program of Lutheran Congregational Services, is actively working to locate
resources within our Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod to respond to the need
in the Gulf Coast for Camps Noah 1 and Noah 2.
LDRN–NEPA’s goal is to fill at least two Camp Noah teams for
this summer. One team is currently being formed at Friedens Lutheran Church,
Oley. In 2006, Friedens provided a team to Bayou La Batre, near Mobile,
AL. This year the Friedens team will be in Grand Bay, Alabama, the week
of July 29.
LDRN–NEPA is seeking the following resources to fill at least one
more team and also to provide support for our teams that will be serving
in the Gulf Coast area:
Adult volunteers and youth ages 14-18 to travel to the Gulf Coast as
staff for a week-long camp. Twenty volunteers are needed for each team.
- Camp counselors
responsible for leading a small group of 4-8 children each day
through camp activities.
- Experience leading vacation Bible
school, summer camp, or Sunday school would be helpful for
- Parish nurses
- Mental health
- Music leader
- Support volunteers:
food workers, childcare workers, recreational assistants, and arts
and crafts assistants.
Support volunteers can be staffed by youth or adults
while the remaining positions must be filled by
are asked to commit
$200 of their own money, which is used to purchase
the curriculum for the camp.
support to provide transportation for volunteers, including airfare,
car rental and gas. There also may be a need to drive a van or
truck from Pennsylvania to the site to transport supplies
that cannot be taken on the plane. Last year travel costs averaged approximately
Financial support to purchase craft supplies and staff T-shirts
Supplies to fill preparedness boxes for participants of Camp Noah 1.
Contact Kathy Yenser as noted below for a list of supplies needed.
quilt for each child participating in camp. Quilts can be
knitted, crocheted, or quilted and can be of any size that
is appropriate for children
between the ages of kindergarten and sixth grade. Contact
Nancy Mulry at 610-481-9581 or
firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
LDRN-NEPA will be applying
for Thrivent funds, which can match dollars to hours
of work put into the quilts. That means work on quilts will
benefit the program in several ways.
To volunteer to serve on a camp team or to donate items for
the preparedness boxes, please contact Ruth Doty (email@example.com)
or Denise Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org;
If you can serve on a team for Camp Noah, please contact
Ruth or Denise as soon as possible.
Financial support may be sent to Lutheran Congregational
Services, 1923 Hanover Avenue, Allentown, PA 18109. Memo:
and Youth/Camp Noah.
Please prayerfully consider how you can touch the lives
of children who were so seriously affected by the destruction
Rita. You can help them find God in the midst of this disaster.