Supplies due at collection sites TODAY

Volunteers from Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston "embody grace" by volunteering in homes flooded by Hurricane Harvey. Here they pause for prayer. (From left) Helen Crowe, Mary Fuller, Suzanne Musgrove, Daniel Solis and Dennis Crowe. ~umns photo/Kathleen Barry

Those collecting reliesf supplies must deliver them to Michigan collection sites by September 30. 

KAY DEMOSS
Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Area

Who are those masked people in the above photo? They are Early Responders in Houston, Texas, forming a circle and praying with their hands full of supplies and their hearts full of love.

Not every United Methodist can be an Early Responder but many Michigan United Methodists are hard at work right now providing the masks, the gloves, the sponges, and  other materials that keep those volunteers working at the disaster scenes. Congregations have ten more days to collect items for Cleaning Buckets and Hygiene Kits that then need to be properly boxed and transported to one of the 15 Collection Sites in churches and campgrounds around Michigan. Supplies must reach the collection sites no later than Saturday, September 30.

Click here for detailed instructions on what to collect and how to prepare supplies for shipment. 

Especially needed right now are:

  • Liquid Laundry Soap up to 50 oz bottles (no spray bottles please or fabric softener)
  • Liquid Household Cleaner 12-16 oz bottles
  • Liquid Dish Soap 16-28 oz bottles
  • Insect Repellant 6-14 oz spray bottles
  • Deodorant for Hygiene Kits
  • Cleaning Bucket Supplies (click here for list)
  • Hygiene Kit Supplies (click here for list)

 

All those “Feet on the Ground” — in Texas, Florida, and elsewhere — need a support system. In this video UMCOR’s Director of Disaster Response, Catherine Earl, notes: “That network of generous givers is so powerful and really does make a difference.”

Dan O’Malley and Bob Miller, Michigan Area’s Disaster Coordinators, offer additional ways for individuals and congregations to be generous givers at this time …

  1. Donate dollars to UMCOR Disaster Relief. Dollars directed for relief in the U.S. should go to Domestic Disaster Relief #901670. Gifts directed for relief in the Caribbean should go to International Disaster Relief #982450.
  2. Money may also be donated online to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) through their “DollarDays.com”. Purchase items on their wish list with 100% of your donation going to relief and recovery supplies.
  3. Volunteer to work at the Midwest Mission Distribution Center. But please, don’t just “show up.” Contact MMDC to see when your hands are most needed. Phone (217) 483-7911 or email office@midwestmissiondc.org.
  1. Volunteer to be trained as an Early Response Team leader or member. Michigan hopes to be able to send full teams of trained volunteers for relief and recovery during the months to come. Watch MIConnect for training sessions that will be scheduled October through December, 2017. Are you willing to be trained, certified and badged? Contact …
  1. Annual Conferences suffering damage from the storm are beginning to invite volunteers to register for service. At present these include two conferences in Texas. Go to their websites for the latest instructions and information:

Why are we so specific with what is needed and how to give it? Those experienced in disaster relief and recovery report that well-intentioned people seeking to help can sometimes take action or give things that divert time and resources away from meeting the immediate needs. UMCOR explains.

A crew of volunteers at First UMC Kalamazoo is organizing the supplies requested by UMCOR for the hygiene kits and cleaning buckets. Their building is also serving as a collection site for boxed supplies from across their region. ~Facebook/First UMC Kalamazoo

Michigan’s Disaster Coordinators remain in close touch with those near the scenes in order to help Michigan’s response be the best it can be.

Dan O’Malley is coordinating Michigan’s donation of relief supplies. He says, “I talked with Brad Walton the supervisor of the Mission Midwest Distribution Center in Chatham, Illinois. I asked him how can we help your process and not hurt it with donations. Brad was very happy that I asked. Given the magnitude of the back-to-back hurricanes, the center has modified their process to be more consistent and efficient. Brad told me that they have to go through every kit to make sure that it contains the correct items and that they are good condition.”

That is why MMDC requests bulk supplies rather than assembled kits at this time. This enables their volunteers to handle all materials once instead of twice. To help MMDC’s crews of volunteers and material flow, Michigan has designated in-state collection sites. In addition to saving time and gas for Michigan’s drivers, trucks can be dispatched from these sites on a schedule that coordinates with MMDC’s processing of supplies.

ERT response is being overseen by Bob Miller, who adds, “The last thing we want to do is to discourage engagement. Christ tugs on us to get engaged. That’s real! We need to listen and to take action on that. But we must engage in a way that is a benefit and not an obstacle in the ongoing effort. Money, cleaning buckets, hygiene kits, and prayer. Right now those are the best ways to cooperate with Christ’s presence in this crisis.”

For your convenience and ready response, all Disaster Relief information is now available at disaster.michiganumc.org.

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