Holston churches give BIG to Haiti relief: $355,715 in 17 days

Holston churches give BIG to Haiti relief: $355,715 in 17 days

As most of Holston Conference shut down to watch for snow last Friday, an important calculation was being made in the conference finance office in Alcoa, Tenn.

As of Jan. 29, churches in Holston Conference have given $355,715 to provide relief to Haiti through UMCOR.

The total includes $50,000 from an anonymous giver, and money is still pouring in, according to the treasurer's office. The Jan. 29 total almost triples the $122,559 total announced on Jan. 22.

By comparison, Holston churches had given a total of $317,946 about five weeks after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.

Bishop James Swanson praised Holston churches for their compassion for Haiti.

"It's like I've said before: The hearts of the people of Holston are always turned toward those in need. When you clearly show the need, the people always come forward. I am tremendously grateful for the outpouring of generosity and support shown for the people who are in pain in Haiti."

Meanwhile, UMCOR and United Methodists from all over the world struggled to get critical food, water, medicine, and shelter to thousands of survivors in Haiti. (See UMC.org for ongoing updates.)

In Holston Conference, churches focused on assembling health kits as well as donating money, since volunteer teams will not be allowed into Hait for many weeks.

Churches were instructed to take health kits to designated drop-off points in their districts, in anticipation of a Feb. 1 conference-wide collection. However, Bill Daugherty, Holston missions coordinator, delayed the pick-up until the following week (about Feb. 5), citing the weather and requests for a deadline extension.

"Several folks think they will have a lot more kits if we give them another week," Daugherty said.

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