ALCOA, Tenn. (Sept. 20, 2018) -- Thousands of relief kits prepared by Holston Conference churches were delivered this week to North Carolina towns suffering from Hurricane Florence.
Mission leaders are now calling for more cleaning and hygiene kits to replace those, so that more people can be helped.
On Tuesday, the Rev. Harry Howe delivered a trailer load of more than 1,000 hygiene kits and 626 cleaning kits to a North Carolina Conference disaster-response center in Washington, N.C.
This morning, a mission team from Evergreen United Methodist Church (Appomattox, Virginia) loaded the remaining kits from Holston’s stockpile at Project Crossroads in Marion, Virginia. Howe said the supplies, estimated at 850-900 cleaning buckets and 2,500 hygiene kits, filled two disaster-response trailers. The loads are expected to arrive in Beaufort, North Carolina, later today.
“We loaded up all we had, so maybe that will inspire our churches to do more,” Howe said. “Next week, we will probably be picking up more kits and buckets around the conference.”
The Rev. Bill Haddock, a mission interpreter for the North Carolina Conference, said the first batch of relief kits from Holston Conference was delivered to Beaufort and Harkers Island.
“The kits that were delivered to us were quickly distributed in an area we call ‘Down East,’” Haddock said Wednesday night. “It is an area of immense poverty. Many people literally live at or below sea level. As I traveled to the distribution spots, I was struck that the storm touched everyone.”
The area has had no electricity for nearly a week, Haddock said. “But there was a rush of the power of the Holy Spirit as persons received unexpected gifts which reminded them that in times of suffering, we all suffer. But the Lord will bring joy by working through fellow United Methodists like we have in the hills of the Holston Conference.”
The latest death toll connected with Hurricane Florence is 37. On Wednesday, thousands of evacuees were urged to stay away from their homes as flooded roads remain closed and power outages prevailed.
“Keep working on the cleaning buckets and hygiene kits,” said Jim Fetzer, Holston disaster response coordinator. “They are an essential part of our ministry.”
Holston church members should contact their district offices for information on where kits are being collected in their areas. All other individuals or groups that wish to collect relief kits should contact the Rev. Tim Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org), Holston communications director, for information.
Early-response teams are waiting for invitations from disaster-response leaders in the Carolinas before deploying, said the Rev. Mike Sluder, Holston director of connectional ministries.
“Everybody is still in the immediate response time, and then they will have to assess the needs,” Sluder said. “Once they determine what and where the needs are, they will call for outside teams.”
Contact email@example.com about this report.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org about Holston disaster response.
Holston churches eager to help neighbors (The Call, 9.14.18)
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.