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UMCOR Offers Hospitality Guidelines for Hosting Evacuees

NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2005- Hosting evacuees is a major decision that will take the actions of communities working together, say United Methodist Committee on Relief officials, who today announced guidelines for congregations seeking to host evacuees.

“Evacuees belonged to a community before Hurricane Katrina. Now they will need a new community to support them,” said Kristin L. Sachen, UMCOR’s emergency services office executive. Rev. Sachen said the first step is forming a team, because “hosting evacuees should be a community effort.”

Community Assessment First

Based on guidelines issued by Mennonite Central Committee, the UMCOR advice starts with a community assessment. The team needs to have a full picture of resources available to them from a variety of sources—within the team itself, from the church, from the local community and from local government agencies.

Important resources for evacuees, for instance, are temp agencies, clothing banks, medical coverage, and schools.

Both Hosts and Guests Will Need Their Space

Once these resources are identified, the team should strongly consider renting separate housing, said Rev. Sachen. “Providing a room in one’s home can be extremely stressful for hosts and guests,” she said. “Guests are traumatized, hosts are eager. Both need their space.”

After evacuees arrive, the team should have a plan to share responsibilities. “Listening becomes one of the primary tasks,” said Rev. Sachen. “Find your best listeners and assign them to listen to evacuees and to hosting participants.”

The objective, said Rev. Sachen, is to help a resettled family become self-sufficient.

All the guidelines are posted at UMCOR’s web site. In addition to the web posting, guidelines are being mailed to United Methodist bishops, annual conference secretaries of global ministries, disaster coordinators, and annual conference communicators.

Cash gifts will help UMCOR continue to support work of volunteers, annual conferences and interfaith response efforts in the Gulf Coast disaster area as well as other vulnerable regions of the world. Donors can give online at methodistrelief.org. Checks can be mailed to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. One hundred percent of every donation to any appeal, including the Hurricane Relief/Katrina appeal, UMCOR Advance #982523, goes to support recovery efforts in the disaster-stricken regions

See Also:

Opening Your Doors: Tips for Congregations. UMCOR, Sept. 15, 2005

 

volunteer offering dessert to New Orlean evacuees

Jaye Shepherd, a member of First United Methodist Church, Dumas, Ark., offers dessert to Sue Campise of New Orleans and her granddaughters, Jillian and Kaitlyn Murphy of Slidell, La. The girls' parents are also staying with them at the church's shelter for evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Credit:Jane Dennis/UMNS

How You Can Help

Give:

Your generous gift to UMCOR Advance #982523, Hurricanes 2005 Global, will help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. You can give online at www.methodistrelief.org, at your church, over the phone at 1-800-554-8583, or by mailing a check directly to: UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Checks should be written to UMCOR with the Advance number and name written on the memo line of your check. If you would prefer that your funds to go to recovery in a specific region, please note that on your donation.

Send:

There is an urgent need for both health kits and school kits. These collections of everyday items will help families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The health kits contain items such as a toothbrush, wash cloth, and soap. The school kits contain items like paper, pencils, and items to help children start school. For assembly and shipping instructions, call UMCOR Sager Brown at 1-800-814-8765 or visit the UMCOR website. You may also give a financial donation to to UMCOR's Material Resource Ministry, Advance #901440 to purchase kit supplies that the Depot staff and volunteers will use to assemble health kits and school kits.

Go:

Volunteers will be needed to help in Hurricane Katrina recovery. To find out how you can help with hurricane cleanup, contact your United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Jurisdictional Coordinator. A list of these coordinators is available on the web at http://gbgm-umc.org/vim/vimcoords.htm or write Mission Volunteers at voluntrs@gbgm-umc.org for contact information. They will provide details on creating and training a team as well as scheduling details. For information on what disaster sites are currently scheduling volunteers, call the Volunteer Hotline at 800-918-3100.