United Methodist Committee on Relief

Relief Kits: Small Efforts Add Up

Volunteers at the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot help sort relief-supply kits. Photo: Amy Fuselier. Volunteers at the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot help sort relief-supply kits. Photo: Amy Fuselier.

A little relief in the form of a kit can go a long way

By Susan Kim*

February 16, 2016—As she was volunteering at the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Sager Brown Supply Depot in Louisiana last week, Cynthia Root reflected on how, when it comes to relief supply kits, a seemingly small contribution can grow into a huge blessing.

Root is a member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Each fall, the Iowa Conference celebrates a “Thanksgiving Ingathering,” during which churches across the state assemble and collect relief-supply kits. The tradition, which began in 1980, has grown every year, said Root.

Two semi-trucks, donated by a private company, travel across the state picking up kits from various drop-off points. Each fall, Root travels to Sager Brown to help unload the thousands of kits collected. “Our church gets maybe a hundred kits and some of the really small churches get ten or 15 kits but when you start pulling it together, it turns into such a huge blessing,” she said.

Expanding the Blessing

UMCOR’s relief supply network includes Sager Brown, UMCOR West in Salt Lake City, and other United Methodist warehouses across the country. In 2015, UMCOR distributed kits valued at $3.1 million, including more than 132,000 health kits; 65,000 school kits; and 36,000 birthing kits.

As the supplies make it into the hands of disaster survivors and others in need, Amy Fuselier, executive director of UMCOR Relief Supplies, said she is proud to work with a dedicated team of people who strive to make the experience of volunteers — like Cynthia Root — exceptional. “Volunteers come up to me and tell me what a great group of people I work with,” she said.

Staying on Top of the Need

Congregations that want to assemble relief-supply kits should check the UMCOR website since needs change rapidly in the wake of disasters. Volunteers can also find opportunities to help out at the depots.

Though she has been to Sager Brown many times when helping with Ingathering, this is Root’s first time visiting the depot to volunteer in other ways. “I love this place,” she said, and she urged others to get involved in assembling and collecting relief supplies. “We can all do a little bit,” she said.

You can also support UMCOR's relief-supply ministry with a gift to UMCOR Material Resources, Advance #901440.

*Susan Kim is a journalist and a regular contributor to www.

Related News

75 Years Continue
75 Years—How UMCOR Continues to Make a Difference
UMCOR remains constant and relevant in a changing world.
The church’s presence in South Carolina has been felt in cleanup work and prayers for thousands of people affected by devastating floods in early October.  Photo: South Carolina Annual Conference.
80,000 People Affected by South Carolina Flooding
South Carolina needs your volunteer team to assist in flood recovery.
In the town of Waveland, Miss., only one building was left standing on Main Street. FEMA/Annette Foglino
A Time of Terror — and Caring — After Katrina
Hurricane Katrina brought a new set of rules for response among faith-based and voluntary agencies.
After Moore Tornado, Volunteers Urged to Be Patient
After tornadoes devastated Moore, Oklahoma yesterday, concerned individuals are asked to pray and stay out of the way of first-responders.
Sedrak (second from left) and Tatevik (third from the left) are among students receiving the necessary education, psychological support and nutritious meals they need at the Special School #3 in Gyumri City, Armenia.
Armenia: Stepping in for Special Needs Children
UMCOR brings relief to special needs children in Armenia through basic food and material supplies.
You can also support UMCOR's relief-supply ministry with a gift to UMCOR Material Resources, Advance #901440.