By Bob Schultz
A team of 15 from First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge, Tenn., invested a week preparing for the next major disaster wherever it occurs in the world. They worked in the small town of Baldwin, La., where the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has their worldwide disaster supply warehouse called Sager Brown Depot. This is the ninth year that FUMCOR church members have volunteered to help stage disaster relief kits and supplies that are distributed to assist people when disaster strikes worldwide. Last year more than $7 million of disaster-relief kits were shipped to 12 states within the U.S. and 12 countries around the world.
The UMCOR Sager Brown Depot collects processes and stages, for shipment, eight different disaster relief kits and supplies. The disaster-relief kits, goods and supplies include: Health Kits, School Kits, Sewing Kits, Layette Kits, Birthing Kits, Bedding, Bottled Water and Cleaning Buckets. The disaster-relief kits are sent to Sager Brown by United Methodist and other churches and groups from across the nation.
Those volunteering were: Maxine Schultz (team leader), Nita Barnes, Rose Anne Bell, Steve Bell, Vicki Hinkel, Linda Houlberg, Wayne Houlberg, Susan Kreke, Evelyn McKamy, John McKamy, Laura McLean, Bob Schulz, Cara Weigel, James Wilson, and Pat Wilson. In addition to working at the various kit processing stations, missioners were involved in supporting an abused women’s shelter, and working on the Sager Brown Campus performing facility maintenance and campus beautification.
FUMCOR delivered 162 Health and Sewing Kits that were donated by the congregation down to Sager Brown. How did the 162 kits grow to 8,432? Six United Methodist churches from four states, a total of 57volunteers, worked together to get 8,432 kits ready to be shipped to any disaster site in the world.
But the ultimate thrill is witnessing each contribution, no matter how large or small, that culminates into a gift of love that will make a significant difference to the victim of a natural or man-made disaster.