UMCOR Sager Brown Ships over $4.7 million of Relief Supplies in 2008
By Susan J. Meister*
December 29, 2008—UMCOR Sager Brown, the material resource ministry of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, has shipped over $4.7 million in relief supplies internationally and in the continental United States in 2008.
In a preliminary summary, executive director Kathy Kraiza reported that just over $3.5 million worth of supplies were shipped internationally, including health, school, sewing, layette and bedding kits. Shipments went to eight countries, including first-ever deliveries of school kits and other supplies to Lebanon and Zimbabwe.
Domestic shipments included health kits, school kits and over 20,000 flood buckets delivered in response to flooding in the Midwest and hurricane storm surge along the Gulf Coast. The shipments in September were completed swiftly, despite the fact that the Sager Brown campus itself was evacuated for Hurricane Gustav early in the month. The campus sustained only minimal damage, and hosted volunteers just a week after the storm.
More than 2,300 volunteers logged 41,630 hours of ministry at UMCOR Sager Brown in 2008. Their work included assembling and verifying kits, maintaining campus grounds, and community outreach ministry. In December, the sewing room made Christmas stockings and volunteers filled them with gifts for a local domestic violence shelter.
Need is Ongoing
"We have constant needs for health kits and school kits," explained Ms. Kraiza. A total of nearly 150,000 health kits and 104,000 school kits were shipped in 2008. In addition, the Depot wants to keep a substantial supply of flood buckets on hand, since supplies can be depleted quickly if a disaster strikes.
Congregations and individuals are encouraged to consider collecting kit supplies or making contributions to the UMCOR Material Resource ministry, either to assemble kits or to support shipping costs.
2009 Will Continue Busy Ministry
UMCOR anticipates even more opportunities for relief supply ministry in 2009, as it expands to a new warehouse in Salt Lake City, UT. A three-year lease for the space commences January 1.
"This (new warehouse) will be a great complement to UMCOR Sager Brown," Ms. Kraiza continued. "We expect that it will energize congregations in the Western Jurisdiction. I know that churches are excited to have an UMCOR presence in their area.
Ms. Kraiza explained that a construction company is working in the warehouse space to clean and reconfigure some areas. As the warehouse takes shape, she expects it to mirror the kit assembly and storage ministry at UMCOR Sager Brown, with volunteers assembling and verifying kits.
Learn More About How You Can Help
Relief supply kits provide basic necessities to people who lack immediate access to essential supplies. Giving to Material Resources, UMCOR Advance #901440, will help UMCOR purchase the needed supplies for kits. It costs on average $6,700 to ship a 40-foot container of goods from the Sager Brown Depot to its final destination overseas. A gift to Contain Your Joy, Advance (UMCOR Shipping) #982730, will help with shipping costs.
More information about the UMCOR ministry, including volunteer opportunities, can be found on UMCOR's Relief Supplies webpage.
*Meister is Domestic Disaster Response Correspondent for UMCOR.