Update on Disaster Areas

Update on Disaster Areas

Tom Vencuss


Texas and Florida 

Texas and Florida are requesting ERTeams. The New York Conference has deployed its first Early Response Team to Rockport, Texas. A second team is being developed for December 2 to 9. We are looking for team leaders for both Texas and Florida. For information or to apply please contact Tom Vencuss (tvencuss@nyac.com). 


Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands

At this point much of this area is still in an emergency phase and inappropriate for volunteer teams and response. Bishop Bickerton and Tom Vencuss met recently with members of the Caribbean Mission Partnership and the NYAC Hispanic Council to discuss the current situation, hear concerns, provide updates, and begin a conversation around short and long-term recovery plans. 

In addition, there may be as many as 6,600 families seeking temporary relocation to the US mainland from Puerto Rico and other areas in the Caribbean. Tom Vencuss is working with NYDIS (New York Disaster Interfaith Services) and other city agencies to develop a plan to receive and relocate evacuees. Tom serves as the president of the NYDIS Board. A first "service center" is expected to be opened next week in Harlem. It is expected that faith-based organizations and local churches will be asked to participate in, and assist, this process.


What Can We Do? 

  • Continue to be in prayer for all persons throughout the world who have been affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and torrential rains.
  • Read and share the most recent pastoral letter from Bishop Bickerton (September 20) 


  • UMCOR has designated two Advance numbers for domestic financial donations: US Disaster Response Advance #901670 and the Material Resources Advance #901440. Donations for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands should be made through the US Disaster Response Advance.   
  • UMCOR has one designated Advance number for international relief and recovery efforts: IDR#982450. 
  • Bishop Bickerton has called for a Conference-wide offering on October 15 to specifically assist Puerto Rico and areas of the Caribbean affected by Irma and Maria. Checks may be made out to the NYAC, with "Hurricane Maria Response" in the memo line. Please send checks to the attention of Fran Collins.   
  • Contributions may also be made in support of our volunteer teams to assist in covering on the ground travel and material purchases. Checks may be sent to the NY Conference, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606 with “New York Disaster Response Fund" on the memo line or donate online by going to https://ny-reg.brtapp.com/MakeaDonation and choose "Disaster Response Fund" in the Direct Your Gift drop-down list.


  • Begin assembling clean-up and health kits. A list of collection sites can be viewed by clicking here. More than 340 buckets have been sent to Mission Central from the NYAC. There will be a general pick up and delivery to the Conference Center from October 12 to 16 with a delivery to Mission Central on October 17.  
  • Mission Central is now accepting “other” donations for hurricane relief. They will not accept used clothing or food items. They will accept NEW Clothing (especially socks and underwear), paper products, and of course, cleaning supplies. If you have received these approved “other” hurricane relief supplies, please bring them along with the cleaning and hygiene kits to the collection sites. 


  •  NYAC Early Response Teams are forming. A team is currently scheduled for October 4 to 11. Another team is scheduled for December 2 to 9.       
  • Consider attending a Basic Early Response Team training or an ERT-Recertification class. Visit this page for a full schedule of Basic and Recert classes
  • Consider serving on an ERT Team. All ERT volunteers must have a current badge and background check. 
  • Consider leading an Early Response Team. All team leaders must have been on a prior ERT and attend an UMCOR Team Leader Training event, or have prior team leader experience. 
  • Continue to follow updates on the NYAC website.