From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Students Declare "What a Relief!" with Lutheran Disaster Response

Date Fri, 27 Feb 2009 11:26:02 -0600

Title: Students Declare "What a Relief!" with Lutheran Disaster Response

>February 27, 2009  

Students Declare "What a Relief!" with Lutheran Disaster Response

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- About 400 college and university students,
student leaders and campus pastors are planning a special
alternative spring break called "What a Relief!"  The program,
which begins in March, is sponsored by Lutheran Disaster
Response (LDR) and the Lutheran Student Movement-USA (LSM-USA).

LDR is a collaborative ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
LSM-USA brings together Lutheran college and university
students to promote cooperation among campus ministries.

"The whole concept of alternative spring break has really
just taken off over the (past) several years," said Michael
Nevergall, assistant director, ELCA Domestic Disaster Response.

"Alternative spring break is such a unique opportunity
because it gives college students, who oftentimes get a bad
rap for just wanting to go and lie on the beach and party for
a week, an opportunity to give back," Nevergall said.

Participants will travel to Florida, Iowa, Louisiana,
Texas and other areas to help rebuild communities devastated
by natural disasters.

Volunteers who work in disaster-affected areas make a
huge impact among people who need help rebuilding their homes
and communities, Nevergall said.  "For people to know that
people still think about them, care for them, and want to come
and help them can really be life-changing," he said. "It gives
them a sense of hope that they've otherwise lost."

Much of the recovery work in areas struck by Hurricane
Katrina in 2005 "has fallen off the radar altogether,"
Nevergall said.

Students from 24 college and universities are

participating, Nevergall said.  Four of the ELCA's 28 colleges
and universities are involved: Augsburg College, Minneapolis,
Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D., Finlandia University,
Hancock, Mich., and Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio.

What a Relief! started in spring 2006 with recovery work
along the U.S. Gulf Coast following the 2005 hurricane season.
It has grown to include disaster response work in other parts
of the country ravaged by tornadoes and other storms.
- - -

Information about ELCA disaster response is at on the church's Web.

For information contact:

John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or
ELCA News Blog:

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home