Every year, Northern California is impacted by major wildfires, floods, and other disasters, frequently impacting our churches and congregations. In the initial phases of a disaster, the bishop, clergy and congregations provide generous financial support (often in the form of gift cards) to help victims meet immediate needs such as food, gas, and medications. As disasters transition from rescue to recovery to rebuilding, victims need everyday goods to adapt to temporary housing while homes and lives are being rebuilt.
Project (Re)Start is an initiative by the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California to develop standardized bins containing essential household and personal goods to help victims after the initial days of a disaster. These bins are distributed free of charge to anybody who has been displaced, is establishing a household in a rebuilt residence, or has experienced forced relocation. This provides interested congregations a way to provide tangible support to victims.
Here’s how it works: There are five types of bins (bedroom, bathroom, cleaning, kitchen, and infant). Congregations are invited to
commit to assembling and storing ten complete bins of one type, strategically sited in each deanery of the diocese. Parish A might have bedroom bins, while Parish B would have bathroom bins, etc. Each deanery of the diocese is encouraged to have 10 complete sets of bins (a total of 50).
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When disaster strikes, the Office of the Bishop coordinates delivery of the bins where needed. The materials which make up each bin are donated by members of participating congregations and packing can be a community event to build cohesion within the congregations. Once deployed, the congregation would then restock their inventory to ten bins for the next disaster.
Project (Re)Start is designed to do the following:
• Inspire congregations to join forces in the ministry
• Prepare for disaster response
• Respond to disasters in a meaningful way, with clearly identified needs
• Establish a ready reserve of supplies without draining local communities during a disaster
• Help those in need across the diocese