As the COVID-10 pandemic rages, the use of protective masks and hand sanitizer has become more crucial and widespread. The Rev. Myra Maxwell, East District Disaster Response Coordinator, and her team have been collecting and distributing both to disadvantaged communities that need them.
Maxwell reports that 400 disposable masks and 200 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer were delivered on Thanksgiving Eve to Chosen 300 Ministries, an organization that serves homeless Philadelphia residents with help from partner churches.
Since then, Maxwell and her team have donated about 300 more labeled bottles of sanitizer to the Kensington community and additional sanitizer and masks to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for community distribution. More of the anti-virus defense items went to two local food pantries in South Philly, a local seniors care facility and a community event organized to mourn a murdered child.
The disaster response team used about $2,100 donated in response to a conference-wide disaster response appeal for masks and funds back in May. With the funds collected Maxwell said they purchased 1,250 2-ounce sanitizer spray bottles and 2,000 masks, including some requested and made in small sizes for children.
Volunteers, mostly from Maxwell’s family and her church, Trinity UMC Philadelphia, bagged and boxed the masks and filled the bottles with sanitizer. Much of the sanitizer came from a 50-gallon barrel given to Carson-Simpson Farm Camp & Retreat Center in Hatboro for churches and others to draw from for free. All four of the Conference camps and several churches received the barrels, which the Conference Disaster Response ministry obtained from FEMA.