In response to disasters in the wake of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian, Michigan United Methodists are called to pray, donate cleaning kits (extended to Oct. 24), and give financially to UMCOR.
Hurricanes Fiona and Ian have caused catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico, Florida, and other parts of the southeastern United States. In response, Michigan United Methodists are called to pray, donate cleaning kits (flood buckets), and give financially to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
As an important reminder, do not self-deploy to an active disaster area.
First responders are on the scene and authorities are assessing the damage before an all clear to enter devastated areas is given. Groups and individuals from the Michigan Conference must receive an invitation from the Disaster Response Coordinator from those conferences affected by the hurricanes, and that has not happened yet. Typically, the ask goes out to surrounding conferences first and then expands out to the region and then to the nation.
There are three ways Michigan United Methodists can respond: pray, prepare cleaning kits, and give cash donations to aid relief. UMCOR and its local partners have been hard at work preparing for storm response and recovery. Supplies will be sent to Puerto Rico, Florida, South Carolina, and other areas impacted by these storms to address immediate needs.
Call to Pray
As disciples of Jesus Christ, United Methodists are called to pray for those experiencing great loss and pain. Here are some resources to guide individuals and churches in prayer:
Call to Serve
Cleaning kits are desperately needed, and the Michigan Conference’s Disaster Response Team has extended its cleaning kit rally through October 24.
Supplying as many cleaning kits (flood buckets) as possible to our partner, Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC), in Pawnee, IL, is the best way for Michigan United Methodists to serve at this time, according to Dan O’Malley, Disaster Response Coordinator. “The aftermath from Hurricane Ian not only challenges UMCOR’s supply network,” O’Malley noted, “but it will also challenge the Florida Conference’s Early Response Team capacity.”
MMDC’s cleaning kit supply has been depleted given the 14 U.S. disasters this year, including the most recent flooding in Kentucky and St. Louis.
Brad Walton, MMDC Operations Manager, explained the situation, “While we typically have 3,000 buckets on hand and ready to go, we currently have only 900. The recent storms have really turned up the needs, and we continue to answer the requests of our partners in the U.S. and abroad. Hurricane Ian is one of our top priorities now.”
Click this link for a list of drop-off sites by district and new instructions on how to prepare the cleaning kits. All kits must be dropped off by October 24.
The six collection points in Michigan are Ishpeming: Wesley UMC, Kalkaska UMC, Clio: Bethany UMC, Cornerstone Church in Grand Rapids, Plymouth: First UMC, and Resurrection UMC. Addresses and drop-off details for each site are found by reviewing this previous news story.
Please note that there is an important change in how cleaning kits will be collected. MMDC has requested that cleaning kit materials—empty buckets and lids—be separate from the contents. MMDC must verify the contents before they can be stored for distribution. Click this link to view the updated packing list for cleaning kits.
Call to Give
Churches and individuals can financially support the work of UMCOR and its local partners by giving to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response and Recovery fund (Advance #901670). Money donated through this advance will assist recovery in all areas, including Puerto Rico.
Checks can be mailed to the Treasurer at Michigan Conference Center North, 1161 E. Clark Rd., Ste. 212, DeWitt, MI 48820. Add “General Advance #901670” on the memo line.
Individuals wishing to give online can do so through this secure link.