Episcopal Relief & Development responds to the Shenandoah Valley wildfires

Episcopal Relief & Development
Posted May 3, 2024

Episcopal Relief & Development, in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, is responding to immediate needs caused by the Shenandoah Valley Wildfires in March.

Over a hundred fires broke out as a result of downed power lines according to reports, burning through more than 7500 acres across Shenandoah County, Page County, Shenandoah National Park and Valley and Fort Valley. People were evacuated from their homes and businesses, and many remain concerned about their livestock and farms.

In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the Diocese of Virginia is working through a network of local Episcopal congregations to provide cash assistance to families and volunteer firefighters who have been affected by the fires. Some homes have been completely destroyed, leaving families with added expenses that exceed insurance coverages. Many volunteer firefighters were not able to work their regular jobs while containing the fires, thus losing some of their income.

“One volunteer firefighter in Rockingham County suffered significant injuries and was in the ICU,” said the Very Rev. Kathleen Murray, Dean of the Shenandoah Valley Region and Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mount Jackson, and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Woodstock. “At least nine homes that we know of were destroyed.”

The diocese is working with a network of local community agencies to coordinate efforts to most effectively serve those affected by the fires.

“We are grateful for the diocese’s partnership with us in helping those who have been financially impacted by the wildfires,” said Tamara Plummer, Senior Program Officer, Global Program, Episcopal Relief & Development. “Using their asset-based approach and working together with both church and community partners has allowed them to have a larger impact than if they went at it alone.”

Please continue to pray for all people affected by the wildfires and other recent disasters in the US. Support of the US Disaster Response Fund will help to address immediate and long-term needs through locally-led partnerships.

For over 80 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has worked with an extensive network of faith and community partners to advance lasting change in communities affected by injustice, poverty, disaster and climate change. Inspired by our faith, we reach over three million people each year by focusing on four interconnected priorities: nurturing the potential of caregivers and young children, reducing violence against women and girls,  strengthening communities’ resilience to climate change and facilitating humanitarian response to disasters. Together with our partners, we leverage what’s working well to drive impact, learning and sustainability. Together, we create lasting change. Join us: www.episcopalrelief.org/sign-up