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Avian Influenza outbreak, Spring 2015
The Asian Avian Influenza has spread to many locations throughout the WIS area and will have a serious economic impact in our rural communities, but also in our general economy. On May 1st, Gov. Branstad declared a statewide emergency. At that time, there were about 16,000,000 chickens & turkeys affected. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, as of May 12th, there were 44 confirmed infected sites affecting over 25,000,000 chickens and turkeys...so far. It is evident that it continues to spread despite strict biosecurity measures, and the economic impact on people will be very significant.
From the economic loss to the local feed companies that produce the feed for the birds, to the people whose jobs are affected; the truck drivers transporting the feed, the birds and the eggs, the people in the care of the chicken, egg & meat processing, and to the income loss the farmers/growers will be experiencing; the economic loss will be very significant to our area. For all of us, there will be an increased cost of our groceries as well. For all farmers this will mean lower demand and prices on grains, no income from eggs or birds for possibly many months, or even years, while their costs continue to escalate.
One area that we as the church in Western Iowa can be very helpful in would be to support our local food banks as their demands increase. Our Western Iowa Synod is applying for financial assistance through Lutheran Disaster Response for those affected by this disaster. There are many restrictions for distribution of disaster relief funds, but one area that could easily be documented and very felpful would be to support our local food banks. We, as the local church, need to be involved in supporting our neighbors through these food banks and also identifying the needs for people in the area. This is the work and ministry of our Lord...God's work - our hands. If you have a need or the desire to help in meeting these needs, please contact your local ELCA pastor or the Western Iowa Synod at (712) 732-4968.
You can find more information on the outbreak, including those counties affected, and resources on avian influenza here.
God's work. Our hands...Times of Disaster
In the Spring of 2014, the Rock River raged beyond its borders, causing massive flooding and damage. Homes, businesses and highways were destroyed. In the blink of an eye, lives were changed. When the flood waters rescinded, a large mess was left to clean up. Lutheran Disaster Response/LSI gave $10,000 in assistance to help families recover their losses. Volunteers from all across the Synod came to the assistance of people in Rock Rapids, Rock Valley, Hawarden and Akron. Youth from Ingham/Okoboji and Lutheran Lakeside volunteered their time and assistance. Western Iowa Synod Lutherans came together to make a difference for those in need. The churches in western Iowa came together to create and donate "flood buckets" to help families and individuals recover from the devastation. Hope Lutheran Church in Sioux Center became an assembly and distribution center for the buckets. Each bucket contained the following items:
Over 200 flood buckets were distributed to needy families & individuals.
The Western Iowa Synod in partnership with Lutheran Disaster in Iowa has a history of response to disaster wherever it might strike in the state. In 2011 there was extensive flooding along the Missouri River. This was also a time of unprecedented drought in Texas which gave way to the Haylift project.
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