Impact of Tornado Threatens More Than Physical Damage

At the beginning of spring 2015, Catholic Charities of Wichita, Kan. (CCW), responded to a devastating tornado that ripped through the city’s neighborhoods.

CCW’s disaster response/case management staff supported a family composed only of grandparents and grandchildren, the former being the legal guardians of the latter. The grandmother was confined to a wheelchair and had just completed major cardiac surgery when the tornado struck their home. They were not in the best position to weather the storm, to say the least, including financially. The family depended on disability income and food stamps in order to meet daily living needs. Plus, they did not have insurance for the house, which lost its roof during the tornado.

The staff of CCW swung into action and partnered with the local “Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster” group which secured volunteers to provide the reroofing services and a local vendor that offered the supplies at slightly above cost. If a new roof had not been constructed before July 31, 2015, the grandchildren would have been placed in foster care and the grandmother would have been placed in a local nursing home. Fortunately, with an emergency grant provided by CCUSA, the staff of CCW was able to provide for the family and keep them together.