United Methodists' Katrina Response: Heroic, Radical, Quiet
Posted: September 13, 2005 Print-friendly
UMCOR is able to provide relief and meet real needs only because of the faithful support of United Methodists. That support has taken many forms: heroic, radical, and quiet service.
Last week UMCOR set up call centers in three states to match resources with local needs, today, they are receiving calls and helping people throughout their regions. Over the past three weeks disaster response consultants have provide guidance and support to annual conferences in the disaster zones to help them form their own disaster response ministry. Since before Katrina struck United Methodists throughout the US have been responding to help the nearly one million people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. UMCOR is able to provide relief and meet real needs because of the faithful support of United Methodists. “UMCOR is us,” said Bishop Hope Morgan Ward to the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate.
United Methodists are stepping up to the challenge and ministering to many people who are in crisis. Approximately 56 United Methodist Churches in Mississippi and Louisiana alone are acting as shelters for displaced people and relief workers. Dozens more churches are supporting local shelters by providing food, transportation, internet and phone usage, as well as meeting other needs.
There are heroic tales like Trinity United Methodist Church in Gulfport, MS. Members of Trinity’s congregation managed to feed about 300 people daily; with only a gas stove and no running water or electricity. Before the relief trucks arrived, they used food donated by the local elementary school and other places to meet the immediate need for meals following Hurricane Katrina. The Rev. Ray Stokes, pastor at Trinity, helped organize this effort. Once relief supplies arrived at the church, they were able to feed 1,000 people.
There are United Methodists in areas far removed from the Gulf Coast who are practicing radical hospitality. Methodists in Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky and other areas are sheltering and supporting people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Through massive volunteer efforts such as the 750 volunteers from the Texas Annual Conference who will serve in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.
There are quiet responders as well. Like the woman who called UMCOR offices to say she is reading and donating books to children in local shelters. There are others who are collecting health kits and other relief supplies. Still more are giving sacrificially to financially support what will be a long, complex, and expensive relief effort.
As we move forward in the recovery process UMCOR will continue to call on United Methodists to share not only their wealth of resources with those in need, but also their creativity and compassion.
To learn more about how you can help relieve suffering in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath visit UMCOR’s homepage.
Cash gifts will help UMCOR continue to support annual conferences and interfaith response efforts in the Gulf Coast disaster area as well as other vulnerable regions of the world. You can give online at www.methodistrelief.org. Also, 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.
News and Resources
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. Jane Dennis/UMNS
How You Can Help
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.