UMCOR

United Methodist Committee on Relief

Frequently Asked Questions about UMCOR Relief Supply Kit Ministry Changes

Each year, United Methodists and friends of the United Methodist Committee on Relief make thousands of UMCOR Relief Supply Kits. Distribution of the kits is coordinated by UMCOR and its partners. Known for being “fast in and last out," UMCOR is the global humanitarian aid and development organization of The United Methodist Church. 

UMCOR Relief Supply Kits, which contain essential supplies of various types depending on the kit name, are distributed to disaster survivors and help them address immediate needs as well as empower them to start on the path toward recovery. 

In 2017, UMCOR supported its partners dealing with many of the billion-dollar weather and climate disasters that impacted the United States. The agency and its network of volunteers responded to 44 disasters and helped survivors recovering from floods, wildfires and the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Kits made by and distributed by volunteers truly helped people dealing with these disasters. 

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UMCOR is consolidating the number of kits it provides. Moving forward, UMCOR will supply cleaning kits, hygiene kits and school kits. Layette, birthing, bedding and sewing kits are being phased out, but supplies will be distributed until the inventory is depleted. 

Why is UMCOR changing the relief supply kits?

The new kit content lists were designed to offer our donors greater ease and flexibility in purchasing their donations. 

Why is UMCOR changing the types of kits it distributes?
Production of kits is based on demand. Based on the shipping and distribution data we have collected in recent years, demand for kits has changed.

Which kits will UMCOR continue to distribute?
UMCOR will continue to distribute the most requested kits; hygiene kits, school kits and cleaning buckets.

Where will UMCOR distribute these kits?
Most kits will be distributed within the United States. International shipping is no longer the fastest or most effective way to respond to a disaster.

Is UMCOR going to produce other types of kits?
It is possible that, in the future, new kits will be produced and distributed based on need.

Why is UMCOR still producing school kits?
School kits will continue to be produced since they may be used domestically and may be distributed through other potential avenues.

Why is UMCOR changing the name of the health kit to hygiene kit?
Hygiene kit is a more appropriate name since most of the items inside the kit pertain to the maintenance of one’s hygiene. Hygiene kit is also consistent with the naming convention of other international organizations.

Why is UMCOR discontinuing international shipments of kits?
UMCOR has realized:
- The most effective way to support countries in immediate need during a crisis is to approve funds through grants
- Purchase of kits items locally helps stimulate the economy
- Using funds locally helps increase employment
- Providing funds for local purchase helps ensure that items are culturally appropriate. It also allows for the preservation of dignity by giving beneficiaries personal input into the items used in making kits.

How will UMCOR support countries outside of the United States in a crisis?
UMCOR will continue to work with international countries through the grant process of its International Disaster Response Unit.

How will the change in distribution of kits and types of kits impact the mission program at UMCOR Sager Brown and Depot West?
These changes are not expected to impact the mission programs. Sager Brown and Depot West warehouse and distribution centers will continue to expand and offer more opportunities for short-term volunteers to support the community and to respond to those impacted by disaster in the United States.

Where can I find out more information online?

Visit umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies.