Long after the news cameras have left, Lutherans still are giving aid to Los Alamos, N.M., after May's Cerro Grande fire. "We're there for the long haul," explains Gil Furst, director of ELCA Domestic Disaster Response.
As "tangible symbols of Lutheran brothers' and sisters' support," Furst says, the ELCA sent cash grants of $500 to 12 families, members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, left homeless by the fire. The ELCA also provided $15,000 to send a pastor, Jay Spoonheim, to assist Bethlehem and its pastor, Ed Thomas, through September.
Ron Augustson, coordinator of volunteer ministries at Bethlehem, says the repair process "isn't something you solve in a month ... no house has been rebuilt." Despite the losses suffered, Bethlehem is "hanging together ... trying to reach out on a continuing basis to our own people and ... the neighborhood," he adds.
Bethlehem's recovery assistance committee maintains contact with displaced families and collects congregational donations.
To help, send donations to: ELCA Domestic Disaster Response-Los Alamos Fires, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764. To give by credit card, call (800) 638-3522 or go to www.elca.org/disaster.
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