Help for hurricane victims

“…We have witnessed the great power of God in the response of God’s people.”  —Rev. Kendell Waller, Rio Texas Conference Director of Finance and Administration

You can help bring relief to people dealing with the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey Irma and Maria.

First, pray for the families, individuals and congregations affected and the many United Methodist volunteers already on the ground doing relief work, those from the conferences in the area and from UMCOR (The United Methodist Committee on Relief).

Second, you can donate to UMCOR, to support its relief and recovery efforts. 100% of your donation goes to the cause. You can give online to UMCOR’s Domestic Disaster Advance #901670; or send a check for UMCOR, with the Advance number in the notation line, either to your church’s office or to: Conference Treasurer, Eastern PA Conference, United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Contributions support the personnel, supplies and equipment needed to organize disaster response and long-term recovery.

Third, you can make relief kits, including flood buckets and health kits, to send to your local mission central hub. Info on Supply Kits. UMCOR is sending these supplies from its warehouses, but it needs more kits to send. Putting together Relief Kits can be produced by a family or small group or as a larger church effort. For details about specific immediate needs and instructions for Relief Kits and Health Kits, visit Mission Central.

Here is a list of six Mission Central Hubs in the Eastern PA Conference:

  • BERWYN HUB 140 Waterloo Avenue, Berwyn, PA  19312. 610-644-5555 (church office). bumc@gmail.com. Coordinators: Bob Hazen and Deb Hazen.
  • LANCASTER COUNTY HUB (Sponsored by St. Paul’s UMC Elizabethtown)
    398 N. Locust Street, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. 717-367-1889
    Coordinator: Liz Helm—jdheah@embarqmail.com.
  • LEBANON HUB Covenant  UMC, 346 N. 9th St., Lebanon, PA  17042
    Coordinator: Mariellen Lantz, 717-273-7316, thegirlsathome@verizon.net
  • LEHIGH VALLEY OUTREACH DEPOT  Wesley UMC, Bethlehem, PA.
    Mailing Address: PO Box 373, Bethlehem, PA 18016. Location: 619 E. Allen St., Allentown, PA 18109. (610) 351-1616. lvoutreachdepot.org
    Hub Coordinator: Gayne Marriner, gayne@rcn.com, 610-217-4887
    Volunteer/UMCOR Kit Coordinator: Barbara Reimers, bbreimers@verizon.net610-694-0767.
  • MISSION CENTRAL HUB AT CLEONA Immanuel UMC, 29 East Maple St., Cleona, PA  17042  717-272-8663. Coordinator: Jeanne Earnshaw 717-270-5445. jearnshaw@comcast.net.
  • READING AREA HUB  Holy Cross Memorial UMC, 329 North Fifth Street,
    Reading, PA 19601. 610-373-7260. ReadingAreaHUB-1@live.com. Or churchoffice@memholycross.org. Coordinator: Louise Harner, 610-374-3962.

We will keep you updated as the situation unfolds. Please surround all the people impacted by recent and future disasters—including storms, floods and fires—in your prayers. Let us be a light of hope and love in their darkest times of need.

UMCOR – United Methodist Committee On Relief is grateful for your relentless prayers and support. “Donations to UMCOR empower local early response teams to do what they need to do, when they need to do it,” said Catherine G. Earl, Director of Disaster Response and U.S. Partner Relations for UMCOR. “People often say that UMCOR is ‘first in, last out’. Our work is made possible only by generous contributions from the people of The United Methodist Church and friends of UMCOR.”

For more information, contact the Rev Greg Ellis (“Deacon Greg”), Disaster Ministry Coordinator & UMVIM Coordinator Eastern PA Conference (c) 484 350 5965.

Meanwhile, here are some other disaster recovery locations in our region where help, especially from work teams, is much needed:

West Virginia

West Virginia needs UMVIM teams!  West Virginia experienced flooding in August 2016 and in July of this year. UMCOR recently released a $500,000 grant to WV to assist in disaster case management, construction coordination, supplies and materials. The goal is to help at least 120 families in the next two years.  Go to wvumc.org/About/Ministries/Disaster-Response for all the information you need to donate or volunteer.

New Jersey

A Future with Hope is still working with what remains of a $3.16 million grant from UMCOR to continue recovery from the 2012 Hurricane Sandy. There are many homes in Atlantic County that still need volunteer teams. In many cases these are people who were swindled by contractors in the immediate aftermath of the storm and have now recovered their funds.  The more teams, the further the grant money stretches and the more families we can help!  Register here or join one of our existing teams.

New York

The NYAC Sandy Recovery ministry is still looking for “Done in a Day” teams to complete projects in Connecticut and in Brooklyn/Queens. If you are interested please contact Gina Grubbs, Volunteer Coordinator at sandyrecovery@nyac-umc.com, or Tom Vencuss at tvencuss@nyac.com.  There is also a great need for rental and mortgage assistance for those still displaced from their homes.

Connellsville, Pennsylvania

The Connellsville Flood Recovery Center still has active recovery cases in the aftermath of flooding in late August 2016. Many homes will need volunteers to do repair and rebuilding work. Housing and hospitality is available for teams wishing to serve for multiple days or up to one week, although sending one-day teams has been the most common practice. Volunteers can register online at connellsvillevolunteers.org/2016/09/08/how-to-volunteer/ or email volunteer@wpaumc.org.


Also, our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

was featured in a Sept. 10 USA Today article about faith-based organizations being a major resource and FEMA partner in responding to disasters. In citing the strengths of several groups, Paul Singer reported in Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA thatUMCOR is “known for its expertise in case management.

“After the initial cleanup — where the Methodists have work crews helping pull mud out of houses,” Singer writes, “the church sends trained volunteers into the wreckage to help families navigate the maze of FEMA assistance, state aid programs and private insurance to help them rebuild their lives. UMCOR also trains other non-profits to send their own case managers into the disaster zone.”

Organizations like UMCOR are “integral partners in state and federal disaster relief efforts,” Singer writes. “They have specific roles and a sophisticated communication and coordination network to make sure their efforts don’t overlap or get in each other’s way. Not just Christian but also Islamic, Buddhist and Jewish relief agencies are credited for their essential contributions to the recovery process, including raising funds from church members, work teams, corporate connections and other donors amounts that amount to billions of dollars in disaster recovery assistance.  Learn more…