Holston collects school supplies for Puerto Rico

Holston collects school supplies for Puerto Rico

Emory & Henry students in the physician assistant program pack cleaning buckets for UMCOR.


  • Collection of hygiene, cleaning kits continues

  • Volunteers needed in Florida, Texas

  • Financial donations to UMCOR requested


ALCOA, Tenn. (Oct. 12, 2017) -- Holston Conference is responding to the post-hurricane crisis in Puerto Rico by collecting school supplies for the children.

While most of Puerto Rico remains without power, many students from the island will be sent to the U.S. mainland to continue their school year, according to NPR and other reports. A large number of students are expected to arrive in central Florida.

The Florida Annual Conference has accepted the offer from Holston Conference to provide “School Kits” for the displaced children through UMCOR, according to Jim Fetzer, Holston disaster response coordinator.

The list of contents to assemble each School Kit is provided on the UMCOR website, along with instructions for Cleaning Kits and Hygiene Kits.

“We have added School Kits to the Cleaning Kits and Hygiene Kits that we are asking the people and churches of Holston Conference to provide in support of the large number of disaster survivors,” Fetzer said.



Holston Conference has already delivered two large shipments of hygiene and cleaning supplies to UMCOR’s Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana. The most recent load, delivered Oct. 6, included 658 Cleaning Kits and 2,500 Hygiene Kits. UMCOR will distribute the kits according to need.

The Oct. 6 shipment of kits were collected and packed by church members throughout Holston Conference over the last few weeks. Students from Emory & Henry College and Blue Ridge Job Corps Center also packed kits Oct. 2 in Marion, Va., according to the Rev. Harry Howe.



Fetzer said that packing kits for Puerto Rico and other hurricane-ravaged regions is an ideal project for small groups throughout Holston. 

“School Kits can be done involving your children and adult Sunday school classes, youth groups, life groups, and other church community groups,” he said.

“As you package the School Kits and Hygiene Kits, please write the number of kits on the box or other container to assist us,” said Fetzer.

On its web page, UMCOR has requested processing and shipping costs of $1 for each School Kit. Instead of placing the money in an envelope inside the boxes, Fetzer asked church members to send shipping costs to the Holston Conference office. (Mail to: Rev. Mike Sluder, Connectional Ministries, P.O. Box 850, Alcoa, TN 37701.)

Completed kits should be delivered to district offices. Contact your district office for hours and other details.



Florida -- The Florida Conference is now ready for volunteers to work in areas damaged by Hurricanes Irma, Hermine, and Matthew, according to an Oct. 5 memo. Training in Early Response Team (ERT) basics will be required for some volunteer work.

“Trained ERTs will be placed in Irma relief and those who are not trained will be serving with recovery for Hermine and Matthew,” said Gray Miller, associate director of UMVIM for the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Find out more.


Texas -- On Sept. 27, the Texas Conference issued an urgent plea for volunteers after Hurricane Harvey.

“We need help immediately,” said Scott Moore, response coordinator. “The scale of this and the resources we need are going to take years to repair. Volunteers are tired and homeowners are frustrated,” Moore said. Find out more.


Holston -- Holston Conference will soon dispatch a team of trained volunteers to clean up after storms in the South Georgia Conference, Fetzer said.

He encouraged newcomers to seek training to participate on future teams. “We are always looking for persons interested to be trained ERT members,” he said.

In September, Holston’s Disaster Response Team provided ERT training to 28 new volunteers. For information about future classes, contact Fetzer at jfa@tds.net.



To support UMCOR with money, (1) donors may give online.

(2) Donors may also write checks to their local churches with “UMCOR Advance #901670” on the memo line.

(3) Donors may write checks made to “UMCOR” with “US Disaster Response #901670” and mail to: Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068.


See also:
Standing in solidarity with Puerto Rico (UMCOR, Sept. 2017)

Holston goes into gear to help hurricane survivors (The Call, 9/11/17)