Bolivar County Long Term Disaster Committee receives grant

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JANS – The Bolivar County Long Term Disaster Recovery Committee (BCLTDRC) recently received a $15,000 grant from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Domestic Disaster Response Week of Compassion.  Week of Compassion is the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). 

According to Rev. Caroline Hamilton-Arnold, Associate Director for Domestic Disaster Response, in responding to disasters across the United States, her organization focuses primarily on supporting locally-led long-term recovery. “People deserve to live with dignity, in homes that are safe and secure, in communities that are sustainable and thriving,” stated Arnold. “By awarding recovery grants to groups like the Bolivar County Long Term Disaster Recovery Committee, Week of Compassion seeks to provide resources to local communities that are working toward equitable, whole-community recoveries,” continued Arnold.  

 Arnold stated that partnership development and recovery grant review are significant pieces of her portfolio. “Getting to know local leaders who work with dedication and tenacity for the sake of their neighbors is truly inspiring,” stated Arnold. “I am especially grateful to connect with organizations leading recoveries after low-attention disasters and in under-resourced areas,” stated Arnold. “I am truly appreciative of Mavis Creagh, Executive Director of R3SM, Inc. (Recover, Rebuild, and Restore Southeast MS) and a board member of Mississippi VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) for facilitating the introduction to BCLTDRC,” stated Arnold.

“The mission of the BCLTDRC is to address the unmet needs of Bolivar County residents who have been adversely affected by a natural disaster,” said DeVoyce C. Morris, the organization’s chairman.  “The BCLTDRC is exactly what the name implies,” continued Morris. “After all other organizations have completed their assigned tasks, our organization is there for long term recovery,” she said.  “Recovering from a disaster is not an overnight solution.  Almost three years later and some residents are still feeling the effects of the flood of June 2021,” stated Morris. “The emotional toll is grave when a person loses everything,” she said. (See the YouTube video “Bolivar County Rebuilds Following June 2021 Flood”.)

 “The BCLTDRC is thankful for the established partnerships between Rev. Arnold and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Domestic Disaster Response Week of Compassion and to Mavis Creagh for her support of our project,” said Morris.  “I firmly believe the scriptural affirmation that we are held by God, and there is peace when we are reminded that we are in God’s hands and that He is . . . perfectly on time,” said Morris.  “The grant support from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is “perfectly on time,” Morris expressed.  

BCLTDRC’s vice-president, Geraldine Grammer, is a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Mound Bayou.  First Christian Church and other local churches in Mound Bayou, along with many benevolent individuals, opened their doors to the many volunteers who assisted Bolivar County residents in the rebuilding process following the 2021 flood.  “The spirit of generosity of the local communities was overwhelming,” said Grammer.  “The BCLTDRC was tasked with providing a hot, evening meal for the volunteers; and, the local churches and individuals so graciously complied,” said Grammer.

“The BCLTDRC has been life changing for me,” stated Sandra Byars. “We have been involved in recovery efforts since 2012, in response to a tornado that touched down in Bolivar County, particularly in Alligator,” continued Byars.  “There was flooding in 2016 and 2021, and throughout the years, we have developed partnerships that have evolved into lifelong, endearing friendships,” said Byars.  “Mrs. Morris and I have been with the organization since its early inception in 2012 when  one of the incorporators, Rev. Walter Griffith, addressed the Bolivar County Retired Educational Personnel of Mississippi and recruited us as volunteers,” recalled Byars.   “We are truly indebted to Rev. Griffith, Hugh Holder-Cummings (deceased) and Richard Wright, the incorporators, and the many other individuals who saw the need to start a recovery committee for Bolivar County,” she stated.

The Bolivar County Long Term Disaster Recovery Committee is a 501(c)3 organization that subsists on donations, grants, and fundraisers.  Tax deductible donations may be made at Cleveland State Bank or mailed to Bolivar County Long Term Disaster Recovery Committee, PO Box 567, Mound Bayou, MS  38762. For more information, call 662.719.0090.

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Bolivar County Long Term Disaster Committee receives grant

By Jackson Advocate News Service
December 11, 2023