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Lake Geneva church group helping disaster victims

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Kevin Hoffman
June 3, 2011
— A Lake Geneva church is organizing a countywide effort to raise donations for victims of flooding and severe storms that battered parts of the nation this spring.

Members at Linn Presbyterian Church said they are responding to a shortage of supplies at the Church World Service, which provides relief for disaster victims around the world. The need for supplies became so widespread this year that the organization’s inventory is depleted.


“Obviously, we want to help people—that’s our No. 1 motivation,” said Alice Brockman, a former deacon at the Lake Geneva church. “We also want to connect to local communities and create strong ties so as a community we can bind together in times of trouble.”


The idea started small, during a meeting of the church’s governing board. The Rev. Won Ho Kim said one of the members mentioned his brother was willing to drive a supply truck wherever it was needed.


The church first planned to collect donations locally, but the plan evolved. Kim said organizers reached out to about 80 churches throughout Walworth County and they’re hoping to grace Church World Service later this month with a truckload of disaster aid kits.


A massive EF5 tornado in May ripped through Joplin, Mo., killing 134 people and leaving thousands homeless. Flooding along the Mississippi River submerged several communities throughout the south, causing millions of dollars in damage.


Church World Service provides varying levels of relief, but Lake Geneva volunteers are focused on collecting disaster kits. Baby kits, hygiene kits and cleanup bucket kits provide basic necessities to those hit the hardest.


“There was this immediate sense that we should really do (this),” Kim said. “We have had a member of our congregation affected by the tornado that hit Lake Geneva and Linn Township this past year, and the community had an amazing outpouring and compassion to restore and help that family, which we’re grateful for.”


Kim said the most needed item is the cleanup kit, which includes dust masks, trash bags and sponges. The church is looking for donations of all three kits, and it will accept cash donations so the church can purchase and organize kits itself.


Brockman said volunteers also are looking outside Walworth County and asking other churches to join the effort.


Linn Presbyterian Church will accept donations now, but collection officially will take place June 20-26. The truck carrying donations to the Church World Service warehouse in Elgin, Ill., leaves the afternoon of June 26.


“We pretty much all know somebody that lives in those areas and everybody (decided) they want to do something,” Brockman said. “This is a chance to make a difference.”


DISASTER KITS


Linn Presbyterian Church in Lake Geneva is asking community members to donate baby kits, hygiene kits and cleanup bucket kits for the thousands of people left homeless from natural disasters this spring. To find out about each kit and their contents, visit churchworldservice.org and click on the “kits” tab at the top of the page.

The church also will accept cash donations to purchase kits. Contributions can be dropped off at the church at W3335 Willow Road, Lake Geneva.


For more information about making donations, call Linn Presbyterian Church at (262) 248-1588, or contact the Rev. Won Ho Kim at wonho711@gmail.com or Alice Brockman at alicebrockman@wi.rr.com.

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