Church World Service was formed in response to an emergency. More than 70 years later, disaster mitigation, preparedness and response continue to be an important part of our work. Last year CWS responded to emergencies both in the United States and abroad by providing material supplies, expertise and financial support.
CWS hosted disaster preparedness trainings for migrant communities in Florida during December 2016. Sandra Kennedy-Owes, CWS Training Coordinator, conducted these workshops in five communities: Pierson, Apopka, Fellsmere, Homestead and Miami. Approximately 80 migrant workers attended these trainings. These workshops were co-sponsored by the Farm Workers Association.
The workshop is filled with helpful hints on how to be prepared for emergency situations, especially fires. The workshop teaches evacuation skills, family communication plans and how to reduce property damage. During the training, Sandra addressed the need for preparing a disaster supply kit in advance and having smoke detectors in homes.
During the session, each participant receives a CWS Hygiene Kit to start their overall preparedness kit. They are then encouraged to add other items like flashlights, batteries and a small radio. Sometimes their economic condition makes the collection of these items difficult, so starting with a simple CWS Hygiene Kit becomes much more important to each participant. Sandra says, “The CWS Hygiene Kits are a perfect start to this conversation and each participant has a small gift to take home. I am thankful for all of the dedicated volunteers who make these kits each year.”
Each year, thousands of volunteers assemble CWS Kits so they can be shared here in the United States and around the world. These kits can make a big difference to the person who received these gifts.