We provide assistance for families who cannot afford tree services, whether it is a result of a natural disaster or simply an economic condition.
Valley Disaster Relief (VDR) is a Christian, faith-based team of volunteers who seek to spread the love of Christ by serving others in this unique way. Our services are not intended to compete with an commercial tree services but to bridge the gap for those who cannot afford this service.
VDR has grown steadily more efficient in completing projects as our volunteers have gained more experience over the years. Because of this, fewer volunteer hours are required to complete jobs which allows us to take on more projects. VDR is in the progress, though, if recruiting more volunteers so that more families may be served both locally and in the event of a natural disaster. As requests for services continue to grow so does the need for more financial support. God has always provided funds in the past and we are always looking for financial partners to continue the operation of VDR.
In the decade plus since it began, VDR has grown to a core group of about 25 volunteers, with dozens more volunteering in individual projects over the course of a year. One hundred percent of the donations to VDR go directly to helping others, as there is no paid staff.
We have a group of financial supporters who give on a re-occurring basis which provide our operating expenses for fuel, equipment maintenance, and outside vendor services each year. These funds also allow us to purchase smaller equipment such as assorted saws and tree trimming equipment.
With special fund raising efforts have enabled VDR to purchase a used boom truck, a new chip truck and chipper box, mini skid-steer unit and chipper.
VDR continues to offer disaster relief services, when needed, but majority of assistance is provided through tree trimming and removal projects concentrated around the central Iowa and Des Moines metro area.
VDR began with a mission to focus on victims of natural disasters, concentrating its efforts in Iowa and the surrounding states. Early projects involved clearing damage from wind, hail, flooding and tornados.
Since then, VDR has also developed an on-going relationship with Habitat for Humanity, clearing project sites for construction teams, as well as partnering with mission agencies on international projects. We have many other non-profits or ministries that we assist or partner with for a variety of projects.
By the end of 2022, VDR will have assisted almost 2000 families and organizations including Camp Sunnyside (Easter Seals), Aging resources clients, Freedom for Youth, local churches and many other non-profits.
Our Origins --- The Poplar Bluff group had formed a Chain Saw Disaster Relief Unit several years prior to Katrina. They wanted to share the Good News and the Hope that is to be found in Jesus Christ through their service to victims of disasters. They decided that tree removal for home owners that had been struck by a tornado, hurricane or ice storm, would be a great way to serve. So, they put together a trailer stocked with Stihl chain saws and safety gear and they did safety training with their volunteers. When storms hit; they responded. They found that this was a great way to serve because it met the needs of many who otherwise couldn’t afford to clean up trees that had fallen on top of their homes. It was also the perfect opportunity to remind victims that there’s no better place to turn in times of disaster than to turn to the Lord and that there’s no safer place to be, than in His hands. Katrina was unlike any other storm. The area devastated by Katrina was far more widespread than anything that Poplar Bluff had ever responded to in the past. The Poplar Bluff group knew right away, they needed more people. That’s where Valley Church came in to the picture. With nearly 3,000 people calling Valley Church ‘home’; it was a perfect fit and God put the two of us together. They had equipment and we had people; and it was just what many of us were looking for; a hands-on way to serve. Valley Church volunteers worked alongside the Poplar Bluff Chain Saw Unit in week long stints during the months of September and November of 2005 and January and March of 2006. The experience left many of us with memories we’ll never forget. After removing a huge tree that had been lying on someone’s house and then gathering together, joining hands and praying for that person and their family; these victims of Katrina were often overcome with emotion. With tears and hugs, they’d show us their gratitude.
After the post-Katrina tree removal had finished, many Valley Church volunteers felt that it was time to put together our own Chain Saw Disaster Relief Unit, so that we could respond to both local and national disasters. So, we prayerfully moved forward, first with fund raising efforts and then with the purchase of equipment. Now, nearly two years to the day from when Katrina hit New Orleans, Valley Disaster Relief was up and running, responding to the needs of families throughout Iowa and around the mid-west.
We’d like to thank Clive Power Equipment and Mississippi Valley Stihl for generously donating some of our original equipment. We’d also like to thank the many donors that have made financial contributions to help start this ministry. A special Thank You also goes out to our Brothers & Sisters from Cane Creek Stoddard Baptist Association of Poplar Bluff who have helped guide us along the way and who we will always look forward to working with in the future. To God Be the Glory!