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Mission Institutions Helping People Dislocated by Hurricane
People hold up hygiene supplies and cash packed in plastic bags.
Lake Cities UMC associate Rev. John Taylor, Virginia Taylor (standing), and pianist Rosie Alexander hold up two health kits that are ready to go to hurricane evacuees in the North Texas area or to the UMCOR depot for distribution along the Gulf coast.
Image by: Rev. Kevin Strempke
Source: UMC Annual Conferences/Jurisdictions
Several people unload boxes and mattresses from a truck.
Rev. Kevin Strempke, New Covenant UMC, Sunnyvale, hands air mattresses to Jacob Davis of Wesley UMC, Sulphur Springs, while 2 other Wesley members wait to help.
Image by: Rev. Kevin Strempke
Source: UMC Annual Conferences/Jurisdictions

United Methodist mission institutions across the southeast and south central parts of the USA are playing significant roles in caring for people dislocated by Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast. The following primarily describes efforts by National Mission Institutions related to the General Board of Global Ministries, but also covers some annual conference institutions.

This information is not inclusive of all centers and schools. Others are on stand by or in planning stages in cooperation with local authorities.
National Missions Institutions can apply to UMCOR for grants in support of their outreach to people affected by Hurricane Katrina (contact

Institutions are organized here by states in alphabetical order:


Dumas Wesley Community Center, Mobile, Alabama, was hit by the hurricane but not heavily damaged. Since the storm, it is providing assistance to its neighborhood and is providing work space for members of United Methodist Women who are putting together health kits and flood buckets for distribution by UMCOR.

United Community Centers, Birmingham, Alabama, did not have any damage from the hurricane, they are trying to mobilize their support efforts for the evacuees.


Camp Aldersgate, Little Rock, Arkansas, admitted 60 evacuees in the middle of the night on September 5.


Neighborhood House, Calexico, is conducting a public campaign for both health kits and flood buckets, including the option of making monetary contributions. The campaign flyer lists two local drop-off locations or gives information for direct shipment to Sager Brown.


Murphy-Harpst, Cedartown, is sheltering a family of nine and also providing health kits and other supplies to UMCOR. It is also helping the dislocated to maneuver through the job-seeking process of the US Department of Labor.

Open Door Community House, Columbus, has been designated by the Red Cross as the clothing distribution site for dislocated people coming into the area. That number, as of September 7, was almost 4,000.

The Vashti Center, Thomasville, is housing a 10-member family that asked not to be broken up, providing for all its needs in cooperation with the local county services.


Spofford, a center in Kansas City, is making health kits.


Bennett Center, London, Kentucky, is taking 70 evacuees in family units, to be housed in what was once a dormitory at the former site of Sue Bennett College. The center will help to find local work and to enroll children in schools.

Wesley House Community Services, Louisville, is sheltering five dislocated families and is collecting health kits. Two staff members have volunteered to be trained by the Red Cross in evacuation procedures.


Mississippi Rural Center, Columbia, is distributing food and ice in front of its badly damaged building, in an area that was hard-hit by Katrina. The center’s structure suffered damage from wind, water, and falling trees.

Rust College, Holly Springs, is housing evacuees and has offered to take students from Dillard University in New Orleans.
Wood Institute, Mathison, is housing 55 people in an arrangement with the Red Cross.


The Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center, East Prairie, is providing clothing, health kits, and meals to 15 families the Red Cross has evacuated to the area.


Epworth Village, York, is sending blankets to UMCOR and is standing by if needed as a direct service facility.

North Carolina

The Charlotte Bethlehem Center is prepared to offer day care and after school services to 30 children in families evacuated to the city. As of September 7, some 800 displaced persons had arrived in Charlotte.


Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, TN, is waiting for a logistics person from Red Cross to check on their building to be used as a shelter for the hurricane evacuees. In the meantime, they are giving food and clothes.


The Wilkinson Center, Dallas, a facility of the North Texas Conference, has turned its classroom space into a dormitory and is unloading and distributing massive amounts of relief materials. Donna Wheeler, a United Methodist young adult missionary (US-2) at the center, reports spending nine hours a day training volunteers. Ms. Wheeler has sound advice for would-be benefactors of the displaced: Do not send anything one would not use and do not send medicine, not even aspirin or other over the counter products.

Houston-Tillotson University, Austin, is admitting students from Dillard University in New Orleans.

South Side Community Center, San Marco, Texas, is equipping its homeless shelter into a residential facility for the next four months and is identifying potential jobs for dislocated people. It is also collecting food and clothing for distribution in shelters in Austin and San Antonio, and stands ready to help with the absorption of displaced children into the local schools.

United Community Center, Fort Worth, is deeply involved with other agencies in the evaluation of local resources and in filling gaps in service. Celia Esparza, the president of the centers, reports that United can be flexible as the crisis unfolds. It is accepting displaced children into its after school programs and also providing food, clothing, and personal hygiene items to the displaced living with relatives or friends in its service areas.

Wesley Community Center in Robstown-Corpus Christi took some of the first evacuees to arrive in the area--26 staff and family members from the Bethlehem Children’s Treatment Center in New Orleans. The Lutheran facility was able to transfer its 45 children to a shelter in Corpus Christi that had no space for the staff members and their families. Wesley purchased beds for the visitors and has provided meals, transportation, and medical services.

Wesley Community Center, Houston is in the thick of things as thousands of displaced persons pour in from New Orleans. It is working with other agencies, the United Methodist Texas Conference, and UMCOR to provide a broad range of services.

Wesley-Rankin Community Center, Dallas, is housing 50 dislocated families, and providing clothing and other essentials.

Information for this article was collected by the staff of the Community and Institutional Ministries Program Area, the General Board of Global Ministries.


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Date posted: Sep 09, 2005