Dear First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia,
As you know, Hurricane Sandy has caused wide spread devastation along the Mid Atlantic coast in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and as far as eastern Ohio this past week. Many people are still without basic necessities such as warm clothes, blankets, shoes, food (perishables and non-perishables), cleaning supplies, batteries/flashlights and lanterns, demolition tools (pry bars, sledge hammers, garbage bags), etc. Several of our Central East Regional Group churches are still without power, people are dealing with personal property losses due to wind and water, and it looks like this will be the costliest disaster in American history.
To aid our UU congregations and members who have been affected by this tragedy, the CERG leadership has set up the CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund to collect donations to assist fellow Unitarian Universalists with storm damage clean up and members' immediate needs and in the rebuilding efforts. They will work with the congregations affected to channel the money raised where it can make an impact in people's lives. The initial efforts will be to provide the basics needed for people who have been displaced or in need of emergency support to cope with the aftermath of the storm. Additional funds will be used to assist congregations in rebuilding damage when their insurance is not adequate to cover the repairs. After all needs are met, if there are funds left over, it will be maintained for future CERG regional relief efforts.
The funds collected will be used for UU congregations, or for general relief work use, or for both. Money will make a real difference. The needs are great and the effort to help will take a long time. Richard Speck (from our Joseph Priestly District) was involved in the relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew in Florida. He and others from his former congregation spent many days over several months helping the poorest people of south Florida rebuild their shattered lives. Many gave much to the New Orleans and Gulf Coast recovery that has taken years to bring things anywhere near normal again. We need to gird ourselves for the long haul.
We will be sharing the plate collection from this month's third Sunday (November 18th) with the CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund. Checks can be made to CERG with Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line.
You can also donate on-line by going to www.cerguua.org and using PayPal. If you choose to donate online, CERG asks that you increase your donation to cover the 3% processing fee that they pay for each transaction.
The world is only made livable by our caring for one another. May you care for those who are both near to you as well as those who you may never know in our region. Your care will be appreciated.
Yours in Faith,
Daniel Widyono, Board President
in support of
Andrea Lerner, Metro New York District
Rev. Chris Neilson, St. Lawrence District
Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Ohio-Meadville District
Rev. Dr. Richard Speck, Joseph Priestley District