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How you can help hurricane recovery

Michigan congregations are on fast forward responding to Texas flooding through UMCOR.


Senior Editor-Writer Michigan Area

The rain was still falling in Texas when congregations across Michigan began using the UMCOR Connection to assist in disaster relief for their neighbors to the south.

The Michigan Area’s Disaster Response Coordinators—Dan O’Malley and Bob Miller—were quick to inform churches of the ways to help and the ways not to help. Dollars to the Advance Special for U.S. Disaster Response and material supplies for Cleaning Buckets and Hygiene Kits were identified as the best options. Worst options were offered as well … used clothing and untrained volunteers will only add to the problems on the ground.

Here are a few of the efforts now underway.

  • Rev. George Lawton, pastor of Lakeside UMC (Kalamazoo District) reported on Facebook. “We had 25 people in attendance on September 3 and we raised $2,745. The Mission Chair and pastor agreed to add enough fund money to make the total $3,000. The check will be in the mail on Tuesday.”
  • Senior Pastor of Birmingham 1st UMC (Detroit Renaissance District), Rev. Elbert Dulworth, reminded the congregation, “In 2014 UMCOR came to our aid in Detroit when we faced our own floods. Money and resources poured into our area from around the nation to help in the disaster recovery efforts long after other agencies left town. Today we have the opportunity to help.” The congregation is donating monetary gifts and joining with Berkley First in the collection of materials for Cleaning Buckets and Hygiene Kits.
  • Rev. Mary Gibson McInnes, pastor of South Lyon UMC (Ann Arbor District), used a Facebook video to invite the congregation to donate 25,000 clothespins and 500 scrub brushes. South Lyon is working with other UMs in the area to gather materials for 500 Cleaning Buckets.
  • Marshall UMC (Albion District) is the drop-off site for a community wide collection for Cleaning Buckets and Hygiene Kits. Pastor Melany Chalker says, “As soon as possible, trucks will be loaded and heading to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Illinois with these items. May the survivors of Harvey say, ‘The Marshall community loved us well!’”
  • Trinity UMC (Grand Rapids District) is putting the emphasis on money for UMCOR’s use where most needed. They have also mounted a “Lend UMCOR a Hand” campaign aimed at collecting hundreds of pairs of work gloves and kitchen gloves for packing at Midwest Mission Distribution Center.

Some reminders from Michigan’s Disaster Response Team …

MONEY: 100% of all dollars given to U.S. Disaster Response Advance #901670 will go to relief and recovery efforts. The Michigan Area Treasurer has now enabled online giving through that office. Click here to make an immediate gift or write a check to your local church with memo to Hurricane Relief.

SUPPLIES: Materials for Cleaning Buckets and Hygiene Kits are needed at this time. The Midwest Mission Distribution Center requests that materials be sent UNPACKED. The materials will be assembled once they arrive at the Illinois facility. Click here for complete instructions on what to send and how to send it to MMDC. Note that money is needed in addition to supplies to cover shipment from Illinois to Texas. There is a growing number of Collection Sites being set up around Michigan where supplies may be dropped off for later trucking to Illinois.

VOLUNTEERS: at the present time only trained first-responders are working in Texas. Until flood waters recede, others are asked to stay out of the area for their own safety and so limited resources are not used up supporting volunteers. The Michigan Area Disaster Coordinators will provide information through District Newsletters and MIConnect when ERTs (Early Response Teams) and other volunteers are welcome in the area. When the time is right, ERTs will be deployed at the invitation of the Texas Annual Conference.

MIConnect welcomes the story of your congregation’s response to the Texas Emergency in the comment section below.

Last Updated on September 1, 2017

The Michigan Conference