The state of Indiana has been in the path of natural disaster during the past week, and two areas of our conference (South Bend and Kokomo) have been affected with severe damage. Our Indiana Conference Disaster Relief Team has been at work to connect those impacted with the assistance and resources needed to begin recovery, as we continue to learn more about the needs of those in these areas.

Here’s what we know at the moment:


Over 1,000 damage assessments have been completed.  More than 100 homes are now considered to be either majorly or completely damaged, and the number of homes affected has surpassed 1000. Emergency Management Agencies are still receiving requests for assistance. There is also a need for persons who can provide spiritual and emotional care for those impacted.

The following plans have been affirmed:

Teams will be housed at the O'Brien Recreation Center located at 321 E. Walter Street, South Bend, IN. ERTs will be provided with cots, blankets, and pillows if they are needed. Showers are available, and the daily evening meal will be provided. Teams will be responsible for their own breakfast and lunch.  Working on weekends is possible.  ERTs will be required to sign a work release. Check-in at the O'Brien Center will begin at4:00 pm, EDT, Monday, August 29 with work assignments made Tuesdaymorning. Contact Acting DRC Mike Irvine by email or by phone at 812-554-0337 if you are interested in deploying, or you have questions.



The Disaster Relief Committee and VIM Team have made a request for funding from UMCOR to support relief efforts for the Kokomo tornados of 2016 and are coordinating ongoing relief efforts, supplies, and resources needed.

Mike Irvine has met with the Rev. Jeff Newton of Kokomo Trinity UMC, where the church building took some minor damage. However, the Urban Outreach Building is a total loss. The church’s food pantry which serves the entire city has suffered significant damage and the food that was stored there is not salvageable.

Apartments located directly across from Trinity UMC are uninhabitable, leaving more than 600 people homeless. Many are being housed in area churches temporarily.

Area churches not affected are bringing 200 meals per day to Trinity UMC to feed the community, staff, and workers.

Spiritual care is greatly needed to assist Rev. Newton in caring for those that are displaced from the damage of the tornados.

Food and clothing are NOT needed at the present moment as the buildings used to house them have been destroyed.

Monetary donations are greatly needed, as the church’s reserve emergency fund will soon be depleted. Rakes, chainsaws, personal protection equipment (safety glasses, masks, earplugs, etc.), contractor trash bags, and dumpsters are also needed.

Groups have been canvassing the neighborhood checking on residents and offering prayer.

More information will be made as it is available and Mike Irvine, Acting Indiana Disaster Response Coordinator, is in contact with ERTs and Beth McDaniel, Indiana Conference UMVIM Coordinator IN Annual Conference.

“My wife and I are praying for areas impacted by the most recent tornadoes and heavy rains. Giving to Indiana Disaster Fund is an example of the strength of the connection we have in Christ and as United Methodists.” stated Bishop Julius C. Trimble, incoming resident bishop of the Indiana Conference.

Trimble continued, “Please give, pray and when called upon, volunteer.” 

Click here to donate now to the Indiana Disaster Fund.

Click here to see a list of other items for Cleaning Buckets that can be useful for your church to collect for donation.