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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance opens Volunteer Host Site in Western Kentucky

A year after tornado outbreak, ‘We still need help’

by Rich Copley | Special to Presbyterian News Service

CALVERT CITY, Kentucky — One year ago Saturday, a deadly outbreak of tornadoes ravaged several states in the South and Midwest. Western Kentucky took the brunt of the damage from the storm, which took lives and destroyed homes and property, including the historic Presbyterian Church in Mayfield.

While first responders have moved on, the needs in Western Kentucky are still great.

“We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of homes that are damaged,” said Loyd Ford, a ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church in Calvert City. “And the people who own them can’t get them fixed because they’re elderly, or they’re poor, and they just don’t have the money or the insurance or, you know, don’t know and don’t see the way in the world that they could ever pay a loan back. So, we just need people’s help.”

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team members check out accommodations at the Calvert City host site. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Thanks to the session at Calvert City, Presbyterians and others who want to help with recovery in Western Kentucky have a place to stay, refresh and revive while volunteering. The small church and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance have converted the under-utilized church building into a Volunteer Host Site complete with beds, showers, and kitchen and dining facilities.

The Calvert City Host Site is now accepting bookings for groups that want to help in Western Kentucky. Click here to learn more about that site and other Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Volunteer Opportunities around the country, and watch the video above to learn more about Calvert City’s story and how PDA commemorated the opening of the site.

Renada York, Host Site Manager and Coordinator for the PDA Volunteer Host Site at First Presbyterian Church in Calvert City, is commissioned by PDA National Response Team member Cynthia Reighard as PDA Mission Specialist for Volunteer Ministries the Rev. Nell Herring and NRT member Joan Otto watch. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Calvert City is a Matthew 25 church, and the Rev. Nell Herring, PDA Mission Specialist for Volunteer Ministries, says the church’s willingness to serve as a host site is in line with that vision.

“This has given this congregation the spark to think about what does it mean to have an impact in this community beyond the impact that we have on the lives of the people in this congregation,” Herring said. “Calvert City First Presbyterian Church is now well known in the community because of their open and willing hospitality, and the ability that they bring to host volunteers who can help in multiple counties with the recovery efforts from the tornadoes. “That’s what being Matthew 25 is all about.”

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, is supported by gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

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