The response in southeast PA to COVID-19 and TS Isaias have merged some of the Conference priorities. The PSEC Disaster Ministry team is at work with our colleagues in the Southeast PA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SEPA VOAD) in the Eastwick section of Philadelphia to help that community recover. This ministry is bringing together disaster ministries, racial justice, and climate justice. This section of Philadelphia was built on a “superfund” site, has seen more than its share of racial disparities, and now has been hit hard by a natural disaster. It is in that context that we work to “create a just world for all.”

The need has been recognized by elected officials and community leaders, as well as disaster recovery specialists. The national setting of the UCC is providing a Long-Term Recovery grant of $5,000 to the Unmet Needs Roundtable of SEPA VOAD. This grant will be used to help provide heat and other essentials to the homes damaged by Isaias. Other denominational and non-profit colleagues are also providing support, as we work with the City of Philadelphia to bring positive change to the community. Representing the PSEC on the Unmet Needs Roundtable are the Rev. Denise Statham and the Rev. Karl Jones.

The need in this community, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, has gotten the attention of the elected officials in Harrisburg. Governor Wolf held a press conference on Dec. 2 where he announced a new long-term initiative to build more resilient communities. The work that PSEC is doing in Eastwick was recognized, as well as what we have done in Schuylkill County. You can learn more about the Governor’s plan here.

 

The picture above comes from the NBC10 coverage of Tropic Storm Isaias’s damage in southwest Philadelphia. Click here to watch that footage.