Feb 22, 2023 | John W. Coleman

When the Eastern PA Annual Conference returns to meeting in-person at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks May 18-20, it will also recapture the spirit and tradition of onsite, collective engagement in mission.  But to do that requires that EPA members start preparing now.

Onsite mission efforts during past annual sessions—prior to the Covid pandemic and online conference sessions—has often meant bulk delivery and distribution of hundreds of sacks of free, gleaned potatoes, coordinated by United Methodist Men. The potatoes were taken by conference-goers to their churches and communities to feed hungry neighbors.

This year conference-goers will assemble 500 disaster response kits to send to UMCOR for distribution to survivors in need of cleaning supplies and hygiene products, including feminine hygiene products.  

Purchase disaster response items on Amazon

The conference’s Project Restoration disaster response ministry has set up an online Amazon Gift Registry where EPA members and friends can purchase emergency items needed for survival and have those items shipped to the conference office. The goal is to make purchases that total enough items to assemble 500 total kits: 200 hygiene kits, 200 feminine (or menstrual) hygiene kits and 100 cleaning kits (also known as flood buckets). 

Sanitation and hygiene are especially important during an emergency, such as a natural disaster, when finding clean, safe water could be difficult. Relief supplies provide care for the most vulnerable during such times of crisis.

Here are links to the Amazon public registry pages where you can purchase survival items. Please place your orders today.

EPA AC2023 UMCOR Cleaning Kits https://a.co/7sC0IOQ

EPA AC2023 UCMOR Hygiene Kits https://a.co/1OkWQT3

EPA AC2023 UMCOR Feminine Hygiene Kits https://a.co/fOBinGe

Purchased items will be shipped directly to the conference office and made ready for assembly when participants come to Annual Conference. Volunteers there will be asked to assemble the 500 kits during a lunch period, and those kits will be delivered to the Mission Central depot in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The depot provided cleaning kits to residents of Downingtown and Coatesville in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s floods in 2021.  EPA’s Project Restoration team and volunteers are still working in those communities and elsewhere to help survivors repair their homes and recover from the devastating flooding.

Possibility (the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference) emerges when committed individuals come together with a common mission so that EPA can help vulnerable communities survive disasters,” said the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership Development and Director of EPA Connectional Ministries. “I give thanks for our congregations who are committed to disaster response and for members who will take time today to select and purchase these emergency items, and for the volunteers who will assemble them at our Annual Conference in May.”

Denise Shelton, EPA’s Project Restoration Director is coordinating the project. Contact her at projectrestoration@epaumc.org or 484-441-6637.