Our focus in 2012 is on how we as a people called United Methodist respond to dreams of service and to disasters that create need. Previously, we looked at the early years of Sager Brown and saw how God’s hand was evident in growing avenues for service. We continue this journey now and look at the early history of MCOR and its transition to UMCOR….
Lessons Learned in the First Three weeks of a Disaster
Staff at UMCOR Sager Brown prepare cleaning buckets for distribution after Hurricane Isaac.
When families are forced to leave their home and establish a "new, normal home," one of the first things a woman does in the new home is clean! If it were you, would you clean the kitchen or bathroom first?
This is where the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) Cleaning Buckets are such a blessing to those with extra expenses. People never forget what United Methodists did for them when they lost their homes, or when their place of employment vanishes.
It is an opportunity for those congregations who find displaced persons in their communities, to step forward and demonstrate the love of Christ. The $50 worth of cleaning supplies already in the UMCOR Cleaning Bucket helps people see a glimmer of hope in a dire situation. (If your child's family was in their situation, how would you feel about someone helping your child's family?)
In addition, when you give each family member an UMCOR Health Kit, it's usually just what they need to get back to a somewhat normal life. And when the people go back to their communities, they tell all their family and friends what those United Methodists did for them. For years to come, this story of "love coming to them" will be retold time and time again.
All we have to do is be the "Good Samaritan" to them and our Heavenly Father will be happy with His church in action, loving His children.
Disaster Warehouse Northwest District of the North Alabama United Methodist Church*
To provide a secure weather resistant storage facility to accumulate, account for, and ship relief supplies to victims of natural and man-made disasters world-wide in support of the humanitarian efforts of the United Methodist Church. The stewardship of the donated and purchased assets shall be the primary activity of the warehouse.
The warehouse facility shall act as the focal point for coordination within the Northwest District of volunteers preparing to assist in recovery and clean-up activities utilizing pre-positioned mobile assets.
For more information, please visit their website: www.umdisasterwarehouse.com
*This is an excerpt from a posting on the UM Disaster Warehouse website. Used with permission, courtesy of Ray L. Crump, Director
Open Hearts (A brief continuation of the UMCOR Sager Brown story: 1992-2012)
UMCOR stands ready to assist during natural disasters.
1992 The year 1992 brought dramatic changes to Hurricane Andrew survivors. The hurricane brought great destruction and loss to thousands of people living along the Gulf Coast of the US.
1994 In its response to Hurricane Andrew, UMCOR used the empty Sager Brown facility to coordinate its disaster relief efforts along the Gulf shore. Realizing the need for continued recovery and the advantage of its Baldwin, Louisiana location, UMCOR settled into the facility and decided to stay.
1996 The UMCOR Sager Brown Depot was completed in 1996 and the rest, they say, "is history".
1997 The popular relief-supply kits distributed in the early days consisted of Korean food boxes, Tools for Mexico, and a Kitchen Box, according to Glenn Druilhet who has been with Sager Brown since 1992.
1998 The earliest recollection of flood buckets is 1998; health, layette, and sewing kits were sent to Senegal.
2005 Once again, natural disasters changed everything. With Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
came thousands of volunteers and long-term recovery efforts – some of which are still ongoing.
2009 Out of a need for coordination and alliance with massive recovery efforts, a Memorandum of Understanding was developed to allow for annual conference-operated depots across the country
to work together.
2010 The Haiti Earthquake sparked an outpouring of compassion among United Methodist people like never before. More than 750,000 health kits poured into the Relief-Supply Network locations.
2012 Response to continued relief-supply efforts and preparation of kits for ministry continues to grow each year. Facility improvements are continual at UMCOR Sager Brown to provide an efficient, safe, comfortable place for ministry to all who donate their time and resources.
God's hand of protection has been evident at UMCOR Sager Brown.
A note from Sager Brown's Director, Kathy Kraiza: "This year, UMCOR Sager Brown Depot marks 20 years of relief-supply ministry. That's 20 times 700,000 kits a year, times 2,800 volunteers a year, times countless lives transformed both around the world and around the corner. There's no doubt about it: UMCOR's relief-supply ministry, with Sager Brown Depot at its heart, impacts lives through tangible gifts of hope every day."
And none of this would be possible without YOU! Each pencil, each band-aid, each bar of soap is a blessing to someone, somewhere!