What the United Methodist Church is Doing to Help: Prayers, donations, readiness needed for Harvey response
As flooding and destruction from Hurricane Harvey in South Texas continue to grow, United Methodists across the nation are waiting to assist in clean up and recovery. Meanwhile, there’s much you can do.
Hurricane Harvey hit hard. While storm-related deaths have been few so far, communities are devastated, and the rains, winds and floods will get worse over the next several days. This catastrophe is leaving its mark on the State of Texas with nearby states on watch. Recovery and rebuilding will be a long process.
Bishop Peggy Johnson reminds us to “Please keep all those affected in our prayers. Safety for those still in the storm areas, travel mercies for first responders going to the area, hope for those starting their recovery efforts. There will be at least three more flood crests in the Houston area.
“Harvey is causing record flooding in areas that also experienced severe flooding last year,” she writes. “The extent of the damage will not be known for months, but we know recovery will take years to complete.”
Early Response Teams, Disaster Ministry Coordinators and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) are leading relief and recovery efforts. Meanwhile, our conference Disaster Ministry Coordinator (& UM Volunteers in Ministry Coordinator), the Rev. Greg Ellis, says there are things you can do:
1. Please continue to pray for those whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey. Please also pray for the Early Response Teams, disaster coordinators, and the many staff and volunteers in The Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, The Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the Central Texas Conference, who are working tirelessly to provide relief after Harvey.
2. Make cleaning kits (flood buckets) and hygiene kits. UMCOR has warehouses across the country stocked with Cleaning Kits and other supplies ready for the next truck headed to an area of immediate need. Putting together kits can be done by a family or small group or as a larger church effort.
Our church will be assembling 30 Cleaning Kits (flood buckets) to send toward the relief effort, and many items are needed. Please see the list of needed items and instructions here.
In addition, The United Methodist Children’s Center at our church will be collecting Hygiene Kits to send to the relief effort. You may bring a completed kit to the Children’s Center by Sunday, September 10. Instructions for making hygiene kits can be found here.
3. Give to UMCOR’s relief and recovery efforts. A special collection will be taken at both worship services at on September 3rd and 10th at United Methodist Church of West Chester, or you may drop off a donation at the church office.After these dates, or to donate directly to the United States Disaster Relief fund, go to UMCOR here, go to the UMCOR website for information on all relief efforts.Contributions support the personnel, supplies, and equipment needed to organize disaster response and long-term rebuilding.
4. Wait to donate only those items requested. As needs become known in Texas and neighboring states, the affected conferences will reach out. Please do not send “stuff” to the damaged areas. Wait for specific requests from UMCOR or local governments.