UMCOR kits to ship to U.S. only

Volunteers help assemble, package and load relief supply kits at UMCOR’s Sager Brown facility in Baldwin, Louisiana. ~photo courtesy Sager Brown Facility

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is making some major changes to its relief supply process.

BELLA SIMONETTI
United Methodist Committee on Relief

ATLANTA, Georgia – In the wake of 2017’s epic hurricane season, members of The United Methodist Church gave their time and money to assemble relief supply kits. Because of the generous hearts of United Methodists, thousands of cleaning buckets were transported within the United States and Puerto Rico to reach devastated communities.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is well-known for its relief supply kits. Almost since its formation, UMCOR has shipped material resources to people in need all over the world. Now, UMCOR is seeing some major changes to its relief supply process.

Last year, UMCOR leadership recognized that shipping relief supplies abroad can do more harm than good. Though shipped with good intent, materials bought and packaged in the U.S. displace potential local purchases that can support local economies. With this in mind, on Dec. 31, 2017, UMCOR determined to cease international shipment of relief supply kits.

UMCOR now distributes only the most-requested relief supply kits assembled in the United States to places in the U.S. and its territories where these items are most needed.

With this pivotal change, UMCOR can meet the needs of those who request relief supplies more efficiently. By awarding grants to UMCOR partners abroad, UMCOR can provide more support to local economies in need through awarded grants. This allows communities to use grant money to buy local supplies and use local workers, as they respond to disasters in their area.

“It’s more sustainable that way and will help to stimulate their economy,” said Amy Fuselier, director for UMCOR Sager Brown and Depot West. “It’s our way to provide them with a hand up instead of a hand down. In doing so, UMCOR empowers local people to become responsible for themselves and their community after a disaster.”

The Revs. Saul Montiel (left) and John Fanestil hand out health kits from UMCOR at “El Bordo,” along the Tijuana River in Tijuana, Mexico. ~ photo Mike DuBose

As director for UMCOR’s relief supplies, Fuselier helps to oversee changes to the relief supply kits. The relief supply kit lists change from time to time, and it’s important to keep up with significant changes to make purchases correctly.

“The updated lists offer flexibility to the donor in purchasing supplies,” said Fuselier. “The new lists help us to better steward the donor’s dollar. The intended goal is to make the process a lot more donor-friendly. For any kits that may have items slightly different from the new list, we will continue to accept them as they are during the coming months.”

As part of the recent changes, UMCOR has discontinued several kits. “We used to have seven kits, but now we have three, which are the hygiene kit, school kit and cleaning kit,” said Fuselier. “The remainder of discontinued kits that have been made… will be shipped out to UMCOR field offices. Nothing will be wasted.”

UMCOR field office program manager, Whitney Stovall, is managing the shipments and distribution. Once the kits arrive at UMCOR field offices, they will be distributed according to the needs of the local population.

During this period of transition, UMCOR will accept any kits that were assembled using the old content lists.

Please help restock relief supply kits! To support UMCOR relief supplies through donation, please donate to Advance #901440. Be sure to check the updated relief kit pages before purchasing supplies:

Hygiene kits
School kits
Cleaning kits 

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