UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has announced that thanks to the overwhelming response from local churches, Texas and Florida have been fully supplied with cleaning buckets and hygiene kits, at this time. They have asked for a temporary “pause” for shipments to their warehouse. UMCOR also has 28,000 cleaning kits waiting in their warehouse for delivery to Puerto Rico as soon as a delivery becomes possible.
What does this mean? YOU all deserve a huge round of applause for all of your donations of time and resources. Everyone banding together played a tremendous role in the recovery efforts of these catastrophic hurricanes. That being said, this announcement DOES NOT mean that the work is done.
As United Methodists, we do a tremendous job of always being prepared and we need to follow through on that, now, more than ever. Mission Central needs to replenish our inventory of cleaning buckets and hygiene kits, because, unfortunately, there will be more disasters. In fact, there is still another month remaining in 2017’s hurricane season and we need to be ready for 2018!
As you may or may not know, Mission Central is much more than UMCOR. While our UMCOR work remains important and is sometimes at the forefront, it is not all that we do. Of the $7.5 million worth of resources that went through our warehouse in 2016, UMCOR represented less than $1 million of that. Mission Central works on countless projects with many other organizations.
What should we do now? If you already have UMCOR cleaning bucket and/or hygiene kit projects up and running, please complete those. At this moment, you do not need to initiate any new projects, collections, etc. Mission Central will still accept ALL of your UMCOR kits and kit materials, given the reasons listed above and, keep in mind, that the 28,000 cleaning buckets earmarked for Puerto Rico may not end up being enough once UMCOR gets into Puerto Rico and begins distribution.
If you have non-standard relief items, Mission Central will still accept all of those resources. As we work with other groups to complete relief efforts, many items that are non-standard UMCOR kit items are desperately needed. For example, just this week, Mission Central sent a truck to Florida, loaded with medical supplies, pallets of water, pallets of brand new cookware donated locally by D&H Distributors and D&H Cares and other critical resources.
Members of the United Methodist church have developed a reputation of being the first ones in and the last ones out when a disaster occurs. We are proud of that and need to keep working to maintain it. We need to be ready for all expected and unexpected events. Did you know that Mission Central keeps about 2,000 completed cleaning buckets on-hand and ready to ship and the components to build another 1,000, at all times? At $65 each, you can quickly see the costs involved with building that inventory back up.
Finally, please remember to check Facebook and sign up for our weekly MissionLink newsletter (see www.missioncentral.org). We plan to provide an update on our disaster relief efforts and hope to have some information about potential assistance to Puerto Rico in next Thursday’s MissionLink. Ever since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and even now, all relief efforts have been controlled by the military. As some time passes and groups like UMCOR and others have the chance to get onto the island, assistance will begin to come from additional organizations.
As always, we at Mission Central extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone out there who has contributed and continues to contribute. Our work is far from over and as we continue to come together for the betterment of all, great things will be accomplished.