United Methodist Committee on Relief

Relief Kits Bring 'Happiest Days'

UMCOR relief kits bring joy to children, parents, and the elderly in the republic of Georgia.
Children in the republic of Georgia receive UMCOR school kits.

By Susan Kim*

August 14, 2013—“This is the happiest day in my life. Thank you for this.”

These are the words of 7-year-old Gio, who is from Abkhazia, a disputed territory on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Gio now resides in a center for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the republic of Georgia.

The center, located in the Gldani district in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, is home for children like Gio, their parents, and other family members who live in run-down buildings amid poor living conditions. Dozens of the children are suffering from various mental and physical illnesses.

But when a favorite magician made an appearance to hand out school, health, hygiene, and sewing kits donated by UMCOR, the children were able to simply smile and laugh in a moment of respite from their daily challenges.

IDP settlements are located throughout Georgia. To distribute relief supplies, UMCOR partners with local non-governmental organizations, including, in this case, the Fund to Support IDP Disabled Children.

Nana Chaligava, director of the fund, described her feelings as she watched how UMCOR's relief-supply kits enabled children to temporarily set their cares aside.

“We are thankful to UMCOR for helping us to make the lives of these children happier and closer to the normal environment. Today, UMCOR has made them feel that they are needed, loved, and protected by others,” said Chaligava.

It is not just children whose lives are brightened. Eighty-two-year old Tamar Abshilava said that this is the fourth time he has seen UMCOR kits distributed in the center in which he resides.

"They take great care of us,” he said. “That pleases us very much. We understand that we are not forgotten and left in the midst of problems. It will be good if they continue assisting us in the future, too."

What can one kit do? It can bring a “happiest day” to a child, a parent, an elderly person. It's important to remember that assembling relief-supply kits is vital even during so-called “non-disaster” times, said Kathy Kraiza, UMCOR's executive director for relief supplies.

In addition to Georgia, relief-supply shipments are also scheduled soon for Armenia, Ukraine, and other locations, she said.

“We really need layette kits, sewing kits, and school kits. We would also send bedding packs if we had them,” Kraiza indicated. “People need to keep in mind that just because there isn't a disaster in front of them, it doesn't mean we don't need the supplies.”

Help bring joy to people in need. Support UMCOR’s Relief-Supply Ministry by assembling kits in your church or community and shipping them to any one of the eight depots in the UMCOR Relief-Supply Network. View and share this short video  in which UMCOR’s Kathy Kraiza addresses the current urgent need for relief-supply kits.

You can also help by sending a donation to Material Resource Ministry, UMCOR Advance #901440, to help purchase supplies, or to Contain Your Joy, UMCOR Advance #982730, to help ship kits to the communities that need them.

*Susan Kim is a journalist and a regular contributor to

Watch how relief kits bring hope to children in Georgia and Armenia and how your support is urgently needed for this vital ministry.