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UMCOR Emergency Appeal for Health Kits, Water and Blankets

As president of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), I am making this emergency appeal for United Methodists and their friends to supply Health Kits, bottled water and blankets for survivors of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast.

The need is desperate throughout the area devastated by the storm, especially among people who have been or are being evacuated from their homes.

The need for Health Kits is especially acute, according to Gwen E. Redding, director of the Sager Brown Depot of UMCOR in Baldwin, LA. The center is to the west of the major storm impact and did not sustain major damage.

“We are getting calls from all over,” Ms. Redding said, “and we do have kits on hand but not enough to fill all the requests coming from the Gulf and around the world.”

The center also needs Flood Buckets but, at present, Health Kits are in greatest demand. New blankets are preferred but recently cleaned blankets in good condition are acceptable.

Annual Conferences, districts, and congregations are urged to take the supplies in trucks or vans to the center–if possible. The roads are open in the area. Money can also be donated to UMCOR for the kits. If delivery is made, Sager Brown will have personnel on hand for unloading any day or hour. Persons who may need overnight accommodations should call or e-mail the director of voluntary services.

A Health Kit contains specific items:

1 hand towel (15″ x 25″ up to 17″ x 27″)
1 wash cloth
1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz and up)
1 toothbrush (single brush only in original wrapper; no child-sized brushes)
1 large tube of toothpaste (4.5 or larger, expiration date must be 6 months or longer in advance of the date of shipment to Sager Brown)
6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages

All items should be placed inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag. No money,
notes, religious or political literature, or other items should be placed in the kits.

The value of a health kit is $12.00, if persons want to contribute the money. For kit contents, make gifts to UMCOR Advance #901440, “Material Resources.”
Given the emergency, delivery is strongly encouraged, but kits may also be shipped to: UMCOR Sager Brown Depot, P.O. Box 850, 131 Sager Brown Road, Baldwin, LA 70514-0850. Please also provide $1.00 per kit to cover distribution costs. This many be sent to Sager Brown to the UMCOR Advance #982730, “Contain Your Joy.”

While the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina is beyond belief, what is not beyond belief is how United Methodists respond to the call for help. UMCOR is already mobilized and offering assistance.

Let us pray for all those affected and let us give generously to support the massive relief efforts already underway.