by Sally Blanchard and Kristen Caldwell
In the last year, disaster response coordinators from the Greater Northwest Area have had to call on the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for a wide range of support after devastating floods, then wildfires ravaged communities across conference boundaries – on top of a global pandemic.
“UMCOR has always been our strongest partners in response to natural disasters in the Greater Northwest Area,” said GNW Area Disaster Response Coordinator Jim Truitt. “They have been there when we needed financial support, training for volunteers and disaster case managers, and materials and supplies needed for relief and recovery.”
Truitt, along with Dana and Kathy Bryson (PNW Conference disaster response coordinators), Dan Moseler (Oregon-Idaho Conference disaster response coordinator) and Rev. Dan Wilcox (Alaska Conference disaster response coordinator) are encouraging everyone to support UMCOR.
Though UMCOR Sunday was officially March 14, 2021, giving is always encouraged because of the global, regional and local scope of UMCOR’s philanthropic work.
UMCOR has been an active and respected partner alongside the PNW Conference disaster response mission,” said Kathy Bryson.
When the September 2020 wildfires swept across Washington State UMCOR provided immediate support through a $10,000 Solidarity grant for survivors in Washington’s North Central counties, followed by a second $10,000 grant for the Malden and Pine City survivors in the Eastern Washington county of Whitman.
Bryson said hundreds of hygiene, cleaning and school kits were trucked in from the UMCOR Depot West in Salt Lake City to serve wildfire survivors across the state. A $100,000 UMCOR Recovery Grant was also awarded to help families who lost homes in the northcentral counties of Washington weave their lives back together.
Additionally, Bryson said the critical need for Disaster Case Managers in both recovery areas was met through UMCOR-led training in December.
“UMCOR has a motto of ‘first in, last out’ that has been consistent since its founding,” said Moseler.
In Oregon-Idaho’s case, Moseler said they have delivered cleaning and hygiene kits for the 2020 Blue Mountain flood recovery back in February, and then a $10,000 Solidarity Grant and several deliveries of cleaning, hygiene, and school kits for wildfire relief in September. One delivery of UMCOR hygiene kits, which had been assembled locally, was made directly from that local church to another and then on to one near the fire zone for immediate relief as fires broke out in southern Oregon.
“In our most recent request, the order went in on a Thursday night and the supplies were delivered in Medford the next Monday morning from a UMCOR-related depot in Illinois,” Moseler said. “I fully expect them to be alongside us each step of the way through the anticipated several year recovery from these current disasters.”
You can still give to UMCOR Sunday by visiting this website.