I am writing on behalf of the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s UMCOR West Office and Depot which has been in operation since June 1, of 2009. We are a ministry that gathers, assembles, and sends disaster relief kits all round the world to the most vulnerable of populations. Along with UMCOR Sager Brown, UMCOR West is the second disaster relief depot. Except for Alaska and Hawaii, every western state has sent a work teams to UMCOR West to participate in our important ministry. You can find out more about our mission by going to UMCOR.org.
This last week has been particularly difficult for all of the UMCOR staff as a result of the earthquake in Haiti. As you may know, the Rev. Sam Dixon who was the head of UMCOR, along with the Rev. Clinton Rabb, head of mission volunteers, were killed in the earthquake. Your prayers for the UMCOR staff, the families of Rev. Dixon and Rev. Rabb, and for the people of Haiti are coveted during this grieving process.
On a more positive note, the people of Utah have responded powerfully to the call to help the people of Haiti. We have been working with hundreds of volunteers to assemble and send aid to the people of Haiti. Our first shipment of around 23,000 health kits will be sent from our warehouse in a few days!
As a result of this tremendous volunteer response, we are now running critically low on our disaster relief materials and we call on you to help. If you would like to help restock our warehouse in preparation for more supplies being sent to Haiti and other destinations you can:
Give financially through the Advance (gbgm-umc.org/Advance/ ) which is a powerful giving program in United Methodist Church. One hundred percent of the money donated goes toward the project you pick. Each mission project is assigned a number. The Advance number for both UMCOR West and UMCOR Sager Brown – our two UMCOR Depots – is #901440.
Consider putting together disaster relief kits at your home church. All of the information to assemble kits can be found at www.umcor.org. If you choose to make kits at your home church we ask that you please focus on two kits, the Health Kit and Layette Kit. They can be sent to UMCOR West, 1479S 700W, Salt Lake City, UT, 84104. .
Thank you so much for your support and faithfulness! It is the work of United Methodists like you that makes a difference in the lives of people around the globe.
Rev. Brian Diggs, Director UMCOR West Office and Depot
REQUEST FROM BISHOP JOEL MARTINEZ REGARDING HAITI VOLUNTEERS
This is a follow-up to an earlier memo in which I said that the time was not right for sending volunteer teams, or even individual volunteers, into Haiti for post-earthquake service.
I am here repeating that request with renewed emphasis.
We know that the church seeks to respond to the great crisis in Haiti. We are in touch with many persons and groups wanting to reach out in tangible ways to provide relief for suffering people there. We have already received an outpouring of inquiries and offers for volunteers to provide a variety of services.
While we are encouraged by this spirit of support, we strongly advise that teams and others not set out for Haiti at this time. There will be great need for short-term and long-term volunteer mission groups in due course—for
medical care, rebuilding, and responses to many other needs. However, the current state of Haiti is not conducive to the safety and welfare of the volunteers; security is a major concern; infrastructures are shattered. There is little access to water, power, fuel, and even roads.
An UMCOR Team is on the ground, coordinating with relief partners on appropriate courses of action. As you know, the United Nations (representing government) and the Red Cross go into to massive disaster areas first. This is long-established international protocol. Church-related and other relief organizations follow. Objectives of our initial team include the assessment and organization
for the reception of volunteers.
In collaboration with jurisdictional coordinators of UMVIM, we are making a registry of potential individual volunteers and teams. The time for volunteers will come and their assistance will be
In the meantime, the best way for congregations and individuals to respond to the Haiti crisis is by supporting the work of UMCOR. Not only are funds needed but also health kits. Please direct persons to http://umcorhaiti.org/.
I will be glad to receive your questions arising from this memo, and I pledge to keep you informed on our relief operations in Haiti.