North America

“The CWS training is an amazing bang for the buck – such good stewardship.”

Photo: CWS

Helping Communities Help Themselves

By the Rev. Leslie Foltz-Morrizon

In Fulton and Montgomery counties in upstate New York, long-term recovery following 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene was floundering until four members of the Fulton Montgomery Long-Term Recovery Group took the CWS Recovery Tools and Training workshop.

The group had not been able to raise funds or organize any work days until after they got the CWS training. Thanks to the training, they know why and how faith-based and other community groups must work in long-term recovery together.

You cannot just leave long-term recovery up to the professionals. They come in to help in the days and weeks following a disaster, but they do not have the commitment to stay in the area. They can be reassigned. Community members – people who are going to stay – need training to continue the work that needs to be done. You want people who live in the community to be on the long-term recovery committee, not just the professionals. It has to do with the community owning its own recovery.

The Fulton-Montgomery region had another flood in 2013. Because the long-term recovery group was already active, it was able to respond immediately.

The CWS Recovery Tools and Training workshops have reinforced for me the importance of cooperation. Since disasters are overwhelming and bigger than any one group can handle, we must work together. There are never enough funds or volunteers. We want the dollars and volunteer time we spend to help the people who need it most. We have to decide who to focus on. The importance of doing that, and the detailed step-by-step process for doing that, have been completely reinforced through the CWS Recovery Tools and Training workshops.

The CWS training is an amazing bang for the buck – such good stewardship. This part of CWS’s work deserves much more attention both inside and outside of CWS. You do such a good job, and you help so many people.