The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Tornado relief continues in three counties

Arkansans still dealing with damage to Pulaski, Lonoke and Cross counties

Published: December 5, 2023   
Catholic Charities of Arkansas
Meeting with the Pulaski County Long Term Recovery group in North Little Rock Oct. 25 are (from left) Megan Moore of Catholic Charities of Arkansas and Shelli Dominick, Mary Jo Dumboski, and Martha Dingler of the Sts. Anne & Joachim Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

It’s been more than seven months since a widespread tornado hit Arkansas with damage to Pulaski, Lonoke and Cross counties. Catholic Charities of Arkansas immediately began contacting Catholic parishes in communities with tornado damage to identify and contact households that were impacted.

Sarah Alvarez, tornado recovery caseworker for Catholic Charities, led the efforts until a long-term recovery group could be formed. A new group of disaster case managers will be trained and supervised by Cathy Garcia, regional program manager of the Disaster Services Corporation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA.

“Disaster case management is a newer field,” Garcia said, “and specific training will be provided.” 

Garcia will train the case managers for Arkansas who will be contracted for one year. Their focus will be to address the tornado survivors’ complex disaster recovery needs.

“Homeowners are still reaching out,” Garcia said. 

Repairs to habitable homes are a top priority along with tree removal and replacing damaged vehicles. There are also the emotional issues that come with a natural disaster.

“This situation is causing residents to go into debt,” Garcia said, “especially if you live paycheck to paycheck.”

Garcia said she is also concerned about Spanish-speaking residents not being found. If residents do not come forward, they will not receive the help they need, she said. Garcia said there is a need for Spanish-speaking volunteers who can assist in finding those who are afraid to ask for assistance. 

DSC provides free person-to person recovery services to all families impacted by disasters, regardless of their immigration status. They will advocate on their behalf with FEMA, insurance companies and the Small Business Administration, connect them with other community resources and help with navigating the complex systems and services for receiving support.

Arkansas survivors of the March 31 tornado can obtain more information or schedule an appointment by contacting St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services at (800) 668-0683, by emailing Pulaski–, or by visiting

Bishop Taylor wants you to know more about your faith and the Church: Sign up for Arkansas Catholic's free digital edition.

Please read our Comments Policy before posting.

Article comments powered by Disqus