Category Archives: Disaster Assistance

Humanitarian Response in Israel/Palestine

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

We have witnessed the millions of people caught in the middle of the devastating
conflict between the government of Israel and Hamas. This is a dire humanitarian crisis and the loss of human life is unimaginable. Through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is providing assistance to those most vulnerable, and supporting partners in Palestine and Israel who are responding to the needs of their neighbors. Our biggest concern is the safety and care for those caught in the middle of this conflict and in need of humanitarian aid, no matter their religious beliefs, politics or nationality. Years of recovery lie ahead. Will you stand in the “GAP” for all affected by this conflict? — Give. Act. Pray.

GIVE: Gifts can be made online, by calling (800) 872-3283, by texting PDAIP to 41444, or by check made payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with “DR000081-Israel/Palestine” on the memo line. Mail to: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

ACT: Urge the U.S. government to advocate for an immediate cease-fire and the end of the blockade on Gaza to ensure urgent access to humanitarian aid, and call for engaging a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

PRAYDear God, We come before you with heavy hearts, burdened by the ongoing conflict in the land of Israel and Palestine. As we listen to the stories, and see the news of what is unfolding, we pray for all the people affected by this strife, for the innocent civilians, the children, and the families who endure the pain of violence and unrest. In times of darkness, help us remember that we are all your children, and that love and compassion can transcend the divisions and hate that lead to war. Grant us the strength to work tirelessly for a world where conflicts are resolved through dialogue, justice and respect for one another.

A map of the island of Maui, showing the locations of cities, towns, and the boundaries of Haleakala National Park.

Support PDA’s response to Hawai‘i wildfires

“I will say to the Lord, “You are my refuge, my fortress,
and my God in whom I trust!”

Psalm 91:2

As we see the news and hear the stories of the devastating fires consuming parts of Maui, Hawai‘i, our hearts are broken and filled with sadness. Authorities are calling these fires the deadliest natural disaster in state history. More than 2,000 buildings have been significantly damaged – over 80% of those residential homes, with thousands of families displaced – and wildlife habitats have been destroyed, their environment in jeopardy. More than 100 deaths have been confirmed, and sadly, the number keeps increasing.

In collaboration with the Presbytery of the Pacific and its leadership, PDA has been in communication with pastors in the affected communities and elsewhere in Hawai‘i. PDA has already released emergency grants to meet the urgent needs of the communities and to provide immediate care. The magnitude of the event will require the development of long-term projects and assistance, both for the physical and emotional long-lasting effects. Presbyterians from O‘ahu are participating in coordination calls with other nonprofit and faith-based disaster organizations to ensure that no one is forgotten. PDA affirms our commitment to accompany those affected by this disaster. As people of God, once again we are called to stand with our siblings in the “GAP” – Give, Act and Pray.



Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000165, which supports the church’s response to wildfires in the U.S. Gifts can be made online by clicking HERE, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check made payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with “DR000165-Hawai‘i” written on the memo line and mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

•    Download and use the bulletin insert
•    Gift of the Heart kits are needed — learn more here.
•    Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.

As we work together with our colleagues in the United Church of Christ (UCC), who have many churches on Maui, we share a prayer from the Rev. Dr. David K. Popham, UCC Hawai‘i Conference minister

Please join us in prayer, e pule k?kou:

It came so fast God, relentlessly driven by winds and we were so vulnerable. Escaping with the clothes on our backs. Lives in tatters. Homes gone. Businesses gone. Jobs gone. Lives lost. Where do we go to even raise our prayers when our hale pule became a burnt victim to the ravages of the fire? There is so much loss, so much that one day was there and is now ashes. Comfort us in our tears and carry our heavy hearts in our time of sorrow.

Eventually Ke Akua, our energy will turn to rebuilding our homes, our businesses, our jobs, our lives. Walk with us during the long recovery that lies ahead. We will become frustrated by bureaucratic red tape and supply chain delays and price gouging. We will fume and shake our fists and we will cry even more tears. Yet, the journey will not be as overwhelming with you by our side.

Bless O God, those fighting these wildfires and those fires yet to come during this dry season. Grant wisdom and insights to our government officials—county and state—as they navigate how best to administer the government response. Lift up on wings our pastoral leaders as they give spiritual nurture to those depleted by these fires.

May we root ourselves in you God, knowing your Spirit groans with ours. Grant us succor in this time and in the days ahead. ‘Amene.

Disaster Assistance is available from the US Small Business Administration

Businesses, Homeowners, Renters, and Non-Profits are eligible for loans to repair/replace damage from the storms March 31/April 1st.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has trained, experienced customer service representatives at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) located in Morgan County at the 4H Exhibition Building, 1749 Hospital Dr., Martinsville, IN 46151. The DRC is open Monday to Friday 7:00am-7:00pm and on Saturdays 7:00am-2:00pm.

At the DRC, SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will assist Indiana businesses and residents with applying for SBA disaster loans for losses due to severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes that occurred from March 31 through April 1. In addition, there are Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) that do not require any physical damage by the borrower for private nonprofits and small businesses. The EIDL is a working capital loan to help pay for ordinary and necessary operating expenses to recover from revenue loss.

Disaster survivors with insurance should not wait for their settlement before applying to the SBA. The SBA can make a loan for the total loss and use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay the loan.

Apply in person at a Disaster Recovery Center or a Business Recovery Center or apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 and at

Information regarding how to apply for an SBA disaster loan: 
How to Apply for a Disaster Assistance Loan – YouTube
Three Steps to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans – PDF
Business Loan Checklist – PDF
Home/Renter Loan Checklist – PDF
SBA Disaster Loan Fact Sheet – PDF

Deadlines for filing:

  • Physical damage: June 14, 2023
  • Economic Injury: January 15, 2024

Tornado Damage in Sullivan & Martinsville

The following is adapted from the Prayers of the Presbytery announcement sent by the Rev. Susan McGhee on Sunday, April 2, 2023.

Another news article, Tornadoes damage PC(USA) churches and destroy homes in the presbyteries of Ohio Valley and Arkansas, was published by PCUSA on 4/4/2023.

In Sullivan, where the Rev. Dawn Black serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, one hundred fifty homes in town and another fifty in the county were destroyed as a (preliminary) EF-4 tornado swept through the area (the church building was not damaged). Peak winds were 155 miles per hour during the storm that traveled 8.94 miles. As of Sunday evening, there where three confirmed fatalities and at least 300 displaced residents.

In Martinsville, an EF0 tornado with wind gusts of up to 85 miles per hour traveled through the areaThe Rev. John Erickson serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, which sustained considerable damage, ripping the steeple from the building and sending debris into the sanctuary.

The Rev. Susan McGhee, Executive Presbyter, has contacted Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), and a National Response Team is being deployed. She will meet with the leaders of that team Wednesday through Friday to tour the affected areas, offer support to pastors and people, and work on next steps.

Monetary support is always helpful at times like this, as it can quickly be sent to where it is most needed. Gifts can be made to the Presbytery of Ohio Valley marked “disaster assistance” and mailed to
Presbytery of Ohio Valley
P.O. Box 7003
Bloomington, IN 47407

Ukraine Emergency Appeal

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance(God) shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
— (Isaiah 2:4)

The current Russian invasion that started on February 24 follows eight years of conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are enduring bombings and assault by Russian military forces; and have lost power, been cut off from water and fuel. As people head toward the western regions, there is a shortage of food and other basic supplies. The reports of displaced persons inside Ukraine continue to rise every day, already in the hundreds of thousands. The UN anticipates that as many as 6.7 million will be displaced internally. Likewise, Ukrainians are fleeing to neighboring countries, primarily to Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, while others have moved to other European countries. Again, current estimates from the UN are that the refugee numbers could also reach several million. These borders have remained open until now even as lines are growing.

Partners are raising particular concern for the women and young children who make up the majority of the refugees as many men are now barred from leaving the country. As part of the international humanitarian community, PDA urges that governments and non-governmental organizations provide assistance without discrimination due to concerns for the Roma and people of other nationalities who have also been displaced by the conflict.

In the midst of the chaos, there are sibling churches and ecumenical partners who are already providing assistance with basic items for survival. Initial assistance being provided includes shelter, food, clothing, blankets, baby food and diapers, other hygiene supplies, flashlights and candles, generators and fuel.

Our first priority is to provide funding to these partners on the ground. While the scale of this crisis is new, receiving refugees from Ukraine and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe is not, which means we have trusted, established partners with the knowledge and expertise to carry out this important work. In fact, One Great Hour of Sharing — the single largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to provide hope, help and relief — was started in response to refugees coming out of Europe.

Our response to the situation in Ukraine will include both financial and technical assistance as the network of faith communities providing humanitarian assistance grows in the months ahead.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are called on to stand in the “GAP” — Give. Act. Pray.GIVE. ACT. PRAY.

GIVE: Gifts can be made online, by calling (800) 872-3283, by texting PDAUKR to 41444, or by check made payable to Presbyterian Church U.S.A. with “DR000156-Ukraine” on the memo line. Mail to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700


  • Download the bulletin insert
  • Urge the U.S. government to support generous aid for refugees and civilians suffering in Ukraine, and call for engaging a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

PRAY: God of mercy, justice and peace

Our spirits are heavy with sorrow, our souls shocked
At the sudden and breathtaking violence,
the invasion of Ukraine by their neighbor, Russia.

We pray for lives caught in the grip of war,
who hear the bombs in the night,
the ominous movement of troops on the road into town
the whistle of incoming shells,
for a cry from a desperate neighbor or a shout of warning.
For those who huddle in subways and basements
or flee for the borders, clutching their children’s hands
We pray for families separated from fathers, brothers and sons
who must remain to fight and protect their homeland.

We pray for neighbors in Eastern and Central Europe
As their hearts and doors open to these refugees
That strained resources will become an abundance of hope
That fears and struggles with racism will yield to a generosity of profound welcome
That communities of faith within Ukraine will be protected from harm
and sustained in their efforts to feed and shelter their neighbors.
That peacemakers and protesters in Russia will be heard and their lives preserved.

May we undergird our prayers with tangible resources to help.
May we reach deeply, give generously, and welcome extravagantly.
May we lift our voices in a strong and unified advocacy.
May we all, even as we breathe in lament, breathe out mercy, hope and peace.
And in this Lenten season, when we walk the way toward death and resurrection, repent our complicity in cultures of violence and renew our efforts toward justice and peace.

–Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Presbyterians ready to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Ida

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance seeks to bring hope and healing after the Category 4 storm. You can help

by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Original Article Here

Radar image of Hurricane Ida

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Doppler radar imagery indicates that the eye of Ida made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana near Port Fourchon around 1155 a.m. Central Time. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. — Romans 5:5

LEXINGTON, Kentucky  As news comes in of the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is organizing a response that will help sustain life and restore hope in the coming days.

“Our hearts break and rise up in prayer for the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, where the catastrophic damage from last year’s hurricanes in Lake Charles, February’s freeze and spring flooding, along with the continuing impact of COVID are still largely unrepaired, and the burden on the people of this hard-hit state is overwhelming,” the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director of PDA, said Sunday. “The PC(USA) must stand with our siblings in the region as they seek to serve as wounded healers for those who have not had equitable access to rebuilding and whose vulnerability in the face of new threats is significant.

“Right now, we need the church’s prayers and financial assistance.”

Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm at approximately 11:55 a.m. Central Time Sunday near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, just slightly southwest of New Orleans, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, according to The Weather Channel, causing significant flooding. Communities such as Shell Beach, Louisiana and Waveland, Mississippi reported storm surges of more than seven feet, and widespread power outages are being reported.

A slow-moving storm, Ida is expected to dump large amounts of rain as it works its way inland and across the Southeast in coming days.

PDA has reached out to presbyteries in the path of the storm to offer support and stands ready to assist.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency response and refugee program of the denomination, committed to the long-term journey of recovery of communities adversely affected by a crisis or catastrophic event. It is funded by One Great Hour of Sharing and has designated funds for responding to specific disasters.

Ida’s landfall comes on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. Last year, PDA staff and volunteers reflected on the years-long effort to aid in recovery from the historic storm.

“It was one of those transformational moments,” said the Rev. Jim Kirk, who was a National Response Team member at the time and now serves as PDA’s Associate for Disaster Response in the U.S. “One of the great things about people of faith is that in the face of overwhelming need, there is a deep calling to respond.”

To support recovery efforts in the wake of Ida, click here. You’ll be taken to the PC(USA) website to donate securely and quickly.

If you prefer to mail a check, you may send it to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

PO Box 643700

Pittsburgh, PA, 15264-3700

Please designate where you want the funds to go by writing DR000169 in the memo line.

You may also call Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, at 1-800-872-3283 and donate by phone.

Follow Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information.

Give to One Great Hour of Sharing to enable Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to respond quickly to catastrophic events.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.