Recovery from a disaster event requires a “whole community” approach, and Illinois’ tornado-battered Champaign and Massac counties are no exception. 

Recovery also requires know-how.  Church World Service and four member denominations will share their disaster recovery expertise in two identical day-long workshops on March 19 in Gifford, Ill., and March 21 in Brookport, Ill.

Suzanne Malloy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be among presenters, on emotional and spiritual care. Also contributing presentations are the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Lutheran Disaster Response (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The “Disaster Recovery Tools Workshop” is for community members who want to help disaster survivors rebuild their homes and lives: long-term recovery leadership, faith-based groups, religious leaders, other community leaders, social service organizations, disaster case managers, and other persons concerned about recovery. 

There is no cost to participants for the training, the lunch or materials.  The American Red Cross, Church World Service and CWS member denominations are funding the workshops.

Dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, March 19 - St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 108 E. Church St., Gifford
  • Friday, March 21 - Brookport First Baptist Church, 700 Pell Rd., Brookport

Brookport and Gifford each have about 1,000 residents.  A tornado outbreak last November claimed four lives in Brookport. It destroyed between 80 and 90 homes in each of the two towns, wiping out half of a mobile home park in Brookport. 

While it will focus on tornado recovery, the free workshop is open to anyone wanting to help following any disaster. Organizers hope for participants from both Illinois and Kentucky.

The workshop gives an overview of how to form a long-term recovery group, disaster case management, volunteer management, construction management and emotional & spiritual care, with a focus on self-care of care givers. Participants will have ample opportunity to ask questions and participate in interactive learning. Presenters will be available to discuss lessons learned and best practices gathered from decades of experience in large and small disasters.