Oak Ridge team serves disaster survivors at Louisiana depot

Oak Ridge team serves disaster survivors at Louisiana depot

First Oak Ridge UMC team loads shipping containers at UMCOR Sager Brown. From left to right: Joye Montgomery, Lois Withrow, Steve Withrow, Rev. Mark Flynn, and Janet Cook

By Linda Yarbrough

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Oct. 20, 2017) -- During the week of Sept. 23-29, sixteen volunteers from First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge served at UMCOR Sager Brown Depot along with 40 other volunteers from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

In the wake of recent natural disasters, never before has there been greater need of support for UMCOR. In the last three weeks, Sager Brown has called for local volunteers to work on Saturdays and to give additional time as they can to help pack supplies. This call to action is crucial because of the high level of need.

The majority of work throughout the week for First Oak Ridge UMC consisted of packing Cleaning Kits for areas hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria. This was to help replenish Cleaning Kits that had already been delivered to Texas and Florida. The next shipment of Cleaning Kits was planned in collaboration with FEMA to go to Puerto Rico in the first week of October.

The following is a summary of the major work accomplished by all volunteers through the week:


* Delivered 170 Hygiene Kits from First Oak Ridge UMC valued at $2,040

* Loaded two shipping containers of School Kits and Hygiene Kits bound for Syria valued at a total of $552,720

* Assembled and verified 900 Cleaning Kits and 3,662 Sewing Kits

* Unloaded 1,008 donated Cleaning Kits into warehouse

* Loaded 448 boxes of food into vehicles for local needy families as they arrived at the depot

* Built and installed a wheelchair ramp for a local handicapped family

* Designed and partially built a prototype storm shutter for windows at the Sager Brown complex


One of the most memorable experiences for the First Oak Ridge UMC team this year was to participate in the customary practice of “blessing of the shipment." More than 50 volunteers worked to load two shipping containers of supplies for Syria – one of Health Kits and one of School Kits. Before each truck left the depot, volunteers and staff members lined the loading ramp as Rev. Mark Flynn asked for God’s blessing on these relief supplies and for the people of Syria.

The First Oak Ridge UMC 2017 Sager Brown team included: Joye Montgomery (leader), Nita Barnes, Rose Ann Bell, Steve Bell, Becky Bullard, Janet Cook, Rev. Mark Flynn, Linda Houlberg, Wayne Houlberg, Fred Montgomery, Dianne Wilson, Lois Winthrow, Steve Withrow, Sandi Wright, John Yarbrough, and Linda Yarbrough.  Maxine Schultz planned and organized the trip but was unable to participate.

We ask that you keep UMCOR and their projects and volunteers in your prayers. By partnering together with UMCOR, we are able to truly exemplify our aim of Christian love in action.