UMCOR

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. umcor.org

Related News

Hope for the Long Haul
As solutions for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, are being explored, relief for its residents continue.
Several communities in Virginia are still recovering from tornadoes that struck five months ago.   PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Virginia UMVIM
In Virginia, Churches Rally for Tornado Recovery
Congregations help boost recovery after tornadoes last February caused widespread destruction.
UMCOR and IBC food assistance arrives for displaced families in Duhok, Northern Iraq.
Iraq: Food for Uprooted Families
UMCOR and International Blue Crescent help meet the needs of populations uprooted by conflict in Iraq.
As U.S. storms strike many states, UMCOR brings immediate relief and supports long-term recovery.
No Small Disasters: UMCOR Helps Many
As U.S. storms strike many states, UMCOR brings immediate relief and supports long-term recovery.
(Right) Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana Annual Conference, says flood recovery in Louisiana may take 3-5 years. Photo: Courtesy of Louisiana Annual Conference
Recovery in Louisiana: Hope and Promise
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana Annual Conference, recognizes the process of disaster recovery from devastating floods in Louisiana, and faces ...
You can also support UMCOR's relief-supply ministry with a gift to UMCOR Material Resources, Advance #901440.
InterAction
CW