ALCOA, Tenn. (Oct. 26, 2017) -- Holston mission leaders have set a deadline of Nov. 10 for churches to collect school supplies, after receiving news from Florida that hundreds of Hurricane Maria survivors are arriving daily from Puerto Rico.
Earlier this month, Holston mission leaders announced that Holston would collect “School Kits” to help students from the island who will finish their school year in the U.S. mainland, as much of Puerto Rico remains without power.
“Thank you for your interest in serving the children from Puerto Rico arriving in the State of Florida,” said the Rev. José D. Nieves, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee, Fla., in an email to Holston Disaster Response Coordinator Jim Fetzer.
“Today, Osceola County alone has over 650 students that have registered from Puerto Rico since the passing of Hurricane Maria. Orange County has three times that amount,” Nieves wrote on Oct. 25. “That is only two of the counties. This is truly a crisis.”
Fetzer said that Holston churches should follow instructions for assembling School Kits on the UMCOR website, and then make arrangements to deliver the kits by Nov. 10 to their district offices. (Call first to check on office hours and other details.)
“We will begin collecting the kits from the district offices after that date,” Fetzer said. “Kits need to be assembled as quickly as possible to meet the need.”
Church members are also encouraged to donate money to UMCOR disaster response or to the Florida Conference disaster response fund. Nieves said the Florida Conference has an arrangement to purchase backpacks with school supplies in bulk for $20.