Jacque Riley said "Methodist angels" helped repair her home in Middleburgh, NY, after Hurricane Irene badly damaged it. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing can make the difference when disaster strikes.
By Michelle Scott Okabayashi*
January 31, 2013—When Superstorm Sandy, the most massive hurricane to strike the US Northeast, roared ashore in October 2012, UMCOR was there—helping families that in some cases had been impacted both by Sandy and its powerful 2011 predecessor, Hurricane Irene.
Families like that of Tim and Kim Gill of Massapequa, Long Island, who for more than 10 days had no heat or electricity as winter approached. Just days after Sandy, an early snow covered the ground outside their New York home, and temperatures turned frigid.
“We had just recovered from Hurricane Irene. Those repairs took six months to complete,” Kim said from her home that, for a second time in two years, had to be gutted of waterlogged furniture, sheetrock, and other goods.
UMCOR—the United Methodist Committee on Relief—was and is there to help thanks to the generosity of United Methodists who give to One Great Hour of Sharing, a special offering traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday in Lent (March 10 this year).
Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing ensure that UMCOR has funds available to respond to crises such as Superstorm Sandy. Emergency grants can be issued immediately to annual conferences impacted by a disaster, and trained volunteers can help out as soon as it’s safe to do so.
A month after Superstorm Sandy, 1,000 UMCOR- trained Early Response Team (ERT) members had already been sent to Massapequa. Over the years, UMCOR has trained more than 10,000 early responders to provide immediate assistance to families in need.
Additional UMCOR trainings—in spiritual and emotional care, disaster case management, and others—guarantee that qualified volunteers are ready to continue assisting families and communities long after their crisis has faded from the headlines.
United Methodist volunteers made it possible for Jacque Riley, a widow in her 80s, to return to her Middleburgh, New York, home last year after Hurricane Irene rendered it uninhabitable. “Those volunteers have been wonderful,” Mrs. Riley said. “I call them my Methodist angels.”
For more than 70 years, UMCOR has brought hope and solidarity to communities in the United States and around the world in the wake of disasters. UMCOR does not receive funding through apportionments. Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing help underwrite UMCOR’s costs of doing business and ensure that UMCOR is always ready to respond to emergencies.
Your One Great Hour of Sharing gifts undergird UMCOR’s promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will be used solely for that project and not for overhead costs.
Your gifts help fill in the gaps when programs run low on funds at critical times. UMCOR could respond immediately to Sandy and Irene regardless of available US Disaster Response funds because One Great Hour of Sharing giving could be used as a resource.
On March 10, or another day this year, join with United Methodists everywhere as they give to One Great Hour of Sharing and ensure “Methodist angels” continue to help survivors of all kinds of emergencies in their hour of need.
*Michelle Scott Okabayashi is a writer and a regular contributor to www.umcor.org.