At the writing of this article, Hurricane Irma, followed by the threat of Hurricane Jose is hitting the Caribbean hard. We do not yet have information on how we as the United Methodist Church are responding, but you can be assured.....we will be there as soon as the hurricane has gone....if not before.
The following, in reverse date order, is the information from our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) website describing the ways in which you, people of the United Methodist Church, have and are responding to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Wednesday, August 30
In the Rio Texas Annual Conference, Early Response Teams are at work. For teams interested in supporting the relief efforts there, please visit the conference webpage https://riotexas.org/harvey. Remember that relief teams come in with training and an invitation.
About 20 churches in the Texas Annual Conference are serving as shelters. It is too soon for Early Response Teams, though cleaning and hygiene kits are being distributed. More kits will be needed. Please go to http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies for more information about preparing kits.
In the Central Texas Conference, one ER Team will deploy this weekend; two more next week. As kits are distributed, more are needed. For those in the conference, please contact Sheryl Crumrine for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
The people of the Louisiana Conference, already responding to massive flooding in 2016, are gearing up for Harvey’s anticipated arrival. They are building kits, putting ER Teams on alert, and enacting disaster plans and shelter preparation.
Tuesday, August 29
Severe flooding on interstate highways and roads caused UMCOR Sager Brown delivery of cleaning kits to be re-routed to Beaumont, Texas.
UMCOR Sager Brown Depot attempted a delivery of 1,000 cleaning kits to Conroe, Texas to affiliate warehouse, the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Mission Center.
Monday, August 28
UMCOR Sager Brown prepared a load of 1,000 cleaning kits to be distributed in Texas.
Friday, August 25
In preparation for Hurricane Harvey, UMCOR contacted Conference Disaster Response Coordinators at the Texas Annual Conference, the Rio Texas Annual Conference, and the Louisiana Annual Conference.
Friends, when we ask, Who Is My Neighbor, our hearts are heavy for all of our neighbors whose lives have already been taken, devastated, or traumatized, and for all of those in the paths of the next storms. Can you imagine just waiting.....waiting for the storms to hit, waiting for the help to come, waiting for the recovery efforts to begin. And these are the best case scenarios......some are waiting to bury their dead.
Let us be in prayer for our neighbors. Let us do what we can to reach out. Remember that when we give to hurricane relief through UMCOR, 100% of the proceeds go to the needs of the victims: administrative costs are covered through the weekly offerings of United Methodist Congregations around the world. We are also collecting materials for cleaning/flood buckets (link above).
Praise God for the opportunity to pray for and otherwise support our brothers and sisters in need.