Disaster Response

Equipped with professional capacities for crisis-counseling, spiritual and emotional care, preparedness training, volunteer recruitment and interagency communication, LCFS strives to help communities and congregations in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.


Emergency-response capacity

When disaster strikes, we engage a listening ear immediately with those affected. If it is geographically possible, and invited, we will visit. We offer a crisis-counseling response, when we have the staff resources in the geographic area affected. This resource is empowering. We do not take away from the caregiver, pastor, teacher or other, their role in managing the crisis or acting to bring resolution and recovery. We work alongside the acknowledged leadership in the affected community or congregation.

We engage congregations, community leaders and our own staff with the inquiry: “How are you doing? What do you need?” Our inquiries come from our professional crisis response and disaster-response staff. We listen with an understanding that the power to respond and recover lies within those affected. We listen very closely. We affirm the feelings that are emerging (fear, anger, sadness, powerlessness), and we help those affected know that they are not alone or powerless. We explore with them the resources they and others have to respond effectively.

To contact us regarding this emergency response capacity:

  • Call LCFS at 800-363-LCFS (5237). During the business day we will have counselors on the phones. If they are busy, be ready to leave a message for a callback. After business hours, an answering service will page us. You can also contact us at lcfs_info@lcfs.org.
  • Call Dave Roth on his cell phone: 708-466-2132.

If you have another familiar contact inside LCFS, don’t hesitate to call that person. We will coordinate.

We also have capacities for preparedness and long-term recovery:



We help congregation teams prepare their own congregations for disaster. Our primary tool is the four-hour “God’s Care in Times of Crisis” workshop for congregation teams. Each congregation that participates gains an increased capacity to respond.

LCFS does not train volunteers for emergency response roles, but we can refer interested volunteers and congregations to agencies that will train and certify.



Long-term recovery

We offer long-term recovery organizing expertise for families that have unmet needs after the short-term recovery efforts. We frequently partner with other entities that provide case management or other relationships with clients, extending each other’s capacity to respond during the recovery phase. This service is empowering of the ongoing services in the local community and the clients served.

We offer support for those who have been givers of care during the emergency, short-term and long-term recovery phases. Our primary tool is a one-day workshop on self-care.

LCFS strives to be a partner and collaborator with congregations and the LCMS Southern Illinois District, Central Illinois District and Northern Illinois District, bringing our capacities and resources so that effective and efficient service will be provided and so that all disaster survivors have improved opportunity for healing and recovery.

LCFS strives to be a partner and collaborator with LCMS disaster-response to “provide assistance to congregations and through them to their members and others in dire emergencies and disaster situations through Lutheran disaster-response and domestic grant fund.”

LCFS is an affiliate of Lutheran disaster-response (LDR). In Illinois, we co-coordinate LDR with our partners at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI). When the scale of the disaster in Illinois is large enough to warrant national support, LCFS and LSSI are the connections to LDR resources for hardship grants, spiritual and emotional care, volunteer coordination and other long-term recovery resources.

In all phases of disaster-response work, LCFS promotes and works to build community capacity to respond at the local, regional and state levels. LCFS is a member of Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) of Northern Illinois, Illinois Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (IL VOAD), and advances VOAD’s mission of collaboration, communication and cooperation among responders. Most recently, we have advanced VOAD’s role in organizing local long-term recovery committees, which are essential to the community’s ability to accomplish a good recovery for all survivors.

LCFS also values its role as a professional social-work agency that adheres to a high standard of practice, code of ethics and respect for clients. LCFS is accredited by the Council on Accreditation. We view our work in a tradition of high standards, and our involvement in disaster-response is consistent with empowering clients and communities for the long-term.