UMCOR / News Room / Hotline News Update / Archives 2009
  • January 20, 2009

The UMCOR Hotline

In Today's Hotline:

*GAZA: Working Toward Relief

*US: Eco-Palms for Fair Wages

*US: UMC Clergy Reach Out to Refugees from Iran and Azerbaijan

*US: Souper Bowl Sunday – Feb 1.


As the political turmoil in the Gaza strip continues, the humanitarian aid situation has deteriorated as all of Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt have been sealed. More than 1,100 deaths have been reported, over 4,000 people are injured and about 20,000 people are displaced.

UMCOR is working on a comprehensive approach through on-the-ground networks and multiple partner agencies, including Action by Churches Together (ACT) and Muslim Aid to bring relief to various areas in Gaza. Muslim Aid, which has strong reliable partners there, has provided cooked food to about 1,200 displaced people taking shelter at two United Nations designated schools in Gaza city. In addition, a delivery of medicine has reached the trauma center at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

Additional assistance from UMCOR will provide food parcels, the purchase of locally-available medicine and psychosocial support to those most vulnerable, especially children who are trauma-stricken as the situation allows. Give to Middle East Emergency, UMCOR Advance #601740.Click the button to give now online


More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for the US alone— most of them for Palm Sunday or church-related events. Families in Guatemala and Mexico rely heavily on the palm harvest for their livelihood, but if they are not engaged in a fair trade exchange, they earn very little.

UMCOR is partnering with the University of Minnesota to build support for the Eco-Palm Project which helps to sustain forestry, protect local jobs and preserve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers by ensuring fair wages.

Last year, more than 36,800 United Methodists ordered Eco-Palms. Please support this social and environmental justice project through your purchase.Visit and place your order online. The deadline for ordering Eco-Palms is March 2.

Please download the latest Eco-Palm Sunday church bulletin or power point slide to share with your local congregation, or give to Sustainable Agriculture and Development, UMCOR Advance #982188. Online Giving


On Nov. 20, a food distribution event took place at Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS) in Los Angeles, an affiliate of UMCOR'S resettlement partner, Church World Service. UMCOR's Refugee Ministry invited local UMC clergy, conference staff and volunteers to IRIS's food pantry to distribute Thanksgiving packages to its clients, mostly Christian refugees from Iran and Azerbaijan. IRIS hosted the UMC group at lunch, presenting more opportunities for refugee ministry for congregations.

More than 120 families stood in line for hours to receive food packages. UMCOR was invited to participate in the event by Debbie Decker, church involvement coordinator for IRIS. Bishop Swenson invited UMCOR and IRIS staff to join her and California-Pacific Annual Conference staff— the Rev. Thomas Hill and the Rev. Keith Hwang—to further discuss local UMC involvement in refugee ministry.

Help UMCOR support ministries that serve refugees in the U.S., many of whom have fled religious persecution. Give to New Hope for Newcomers, UMCOR Advance #901779. Online Giving


On Sunday Feb. 1, when 140 million Americans tune in to the Super Bowl football game, food, friendship and fellowship will be in abundance. For countless others however, warmth, shelter and food will be out of reach.

Consider joining thousands of youth around the country as they demonstrate God’s love by helping those who are hungry through Souper Bowl of Caring. Place donations into soup pots, or collect cans of food as you leave worship on Sundays leading up to Feb. 1. Every penny raised is given to local charities selected by each youth group. Please also report your collections so a national total can be determined.

For more information, resources or to register, please visit You can also give to World/Hunger Poverty, UMCOR Advance #982920. Online Giving

UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit You can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. You can also give online by clicking on any of the "Give Now" links. UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.

And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.

BE SURE TO RECEIVE OUR HOTLINE EMAILS. MAKE UMCOR YOUR BUDDY! Some Internet Service Providers like AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Juno use email filtering software that allows you to add email addresses to a "buddy," "trusted," "safe," or approved list. Please add to your list so that our messages don't end up in "junk mail" or the "trash."