February 2024 Newsletter Now Available

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The February edition of the Maryland VOAD Newsletter is now available. Find it here and sign up to receive additional newsletters each month to your inbox.

If you have information or pictures to include in future issues, please send them to communicationscoordinator@marylandvoad.org by the 15th of each month to be included.

Missed last month’s Newsletter? Find it here!

Check out the upcoming events below:

DATESConference or Training EventLocation and Registration
Date varies by location
Central MD American Red Cross TrainingSchedule and Registration
Feb. 6-27, 2024
(Tuesday only)
Navigating Storm SeasonSchedule and Registration
Feb. 12 & 13, 2024
9am- 2pm
Mental Health
First Aid Training
March 1 – 3, 2024Annapolis-Anne Arundel Basic CERT TrainingDetails and Registration
April 2 – 30, 2024
(Tuesday only)
Caring in Crisis: Effective InterventionsSchedule coming soon!
April 8 & 9, 2024Mid-Atlantic VOAD
Inaugural Conference
Cacapon State Park,
Berkley Springs, WV
April 26 – 28, 2024Annapolis-Anne Arundel Basic CERT TrainingDetails and Registration
May 6 – 9, 20242024 National VOAD
Hilton Phoenix Resort @ the Peak
Phoenix, AZ

Event Calendar

FEMA has developed a suite of materials to help improve collaboration between governments and organizations, enhance understanding, and incorporate children’s needs into plans, policies and programs.

Resources on the Community Preparedness: Integrating the Needs of Children workshop webpage provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the relationships and improve a community’s ability to prepare for and respond to disasters.

The manuals and guides can be used to conduct interactive workshops either in person or online. The workshop teaches participants how to: • Understand the importance of integrating child-specific concerns throughout their community’s emergency management program(s). • Identify necessary stakeholders to include in planning efforts. • Examine policy and program planning requirements that should be assessed for child-specific needs. • Incorporate child safeguarding principles into planning efforts.

The Rev. Phillip Huber, Maryland VOAD Chair, was invited to prepare an article for the FEMA’s Mitigation Division Resilience Report Newsletter with FEMA on the Blue Ribbon Mitigation Task Group.

Pastor Phil shared, “The Task Group was recently formed by the Eastern Shore Long Term Recovery Committee to secure funding and provide leadership for Phase 2 of our response to the tidal flooding that occurred during the unnamed, undeclared storm that happened on October 29, 2021. Phase 2 has a goal of raising $5.5 million dollars to elevate and repair 100 homes in Somerset and Dorchester counties. This project will do three important things: 1) make better stewardship of the funding dollars entrusted to us to assist families in their recovery; 2) prevent repetitive loss; and, 3) most importantly, significantly improve the quality of life for the families we are assisting.”

We are proud to share the full article here.

The Blue Ribbon Mitigation Task Group, with over 50 members, met three times in 2023 (May, June, and July), organized, and began its work. The first home elevation has begun.

Contact Pastor Phil if you are interested in joining this dynamic Group.

2023 has been a banner year for welcoming new organizations to Maryland VOAD. Learn more about these great organizations by following the links below.

Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA
Southeastern District- LCMS
World Renew

Kent County Office of Emergency Services

Carroll County
Montgomery County

Do you know an organization that should be part of Maryland VOAD?

Please share: https://www.marylandvoad.org/become-a-member/ or email membership@marylandvoad.org for more information.

One year ago, President Biden hosted the United We Stand Summit at the White House to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety.

The gathering began with a moment of silence led by leaders of several faith communities that had suffered violent attacks. One of these leaders, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, said:

On January 15 [2022], three of my congregants and I were held hostage during services at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in an act of blatant antisemitism. During the ordeal, the Colleyville community came together—from the Catholic Church that opened its doors to our families, to our Muslim friends who brought them food and hugs. After we escaped, we were overwhelmed with love and support. We all need that love and support when tragedy strikes. We all need safety and acceptance. We all need compassion and kindness. We all need wholeness and peace.

Learn how you can support by downloading the Allied Against Hate Toolkit for Faith Communities today.

Visit the website to access additional resources made available by National VOAD and Homeland Security.

Dr. Earl King, my brother, a pulmonologist who lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, was featured in the news lately for giving a unique prescription. The prescription? “Go get a cat”— four simple words to the patient.  

According to the news account, my brother had been seeing the patient for the last number of years—a woman who gratefully acknowledges: “Dr. King has saved my life at least three times.”

In a recent visit, he noticed that she was very sad, so he got creative—and restorative—with his treatment. 

If you were a medical doctor, what unique prescription would you prescribe? For me, I would write a one-word script: “Volunteer!”

We know that volunteering benefits our health.

The Mayo Clinic states that volunteers report better physical health than non-volunteers. Research also has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for people 65 and older. Volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine.

This is confirmed by the end of story mentioned above: the patient now “would like to take ‘Earlene’ [the cat] on visits to facilities that help veterans or those dealing with limb loss.”

So, I urge you to take your prescription and give us a call.  We can help. 1-800-241-8111.

Provided by Kevin King, Executive Director of Mennonite Disaster Services. Article “Kevin’s Corner” published in the MDS monthly newsletter On the Level.

(Kevin is photographed above with a volunteer following Hurricane Florence.)