UMCOR West Depot Created to Respond to Western States Threats

November 17, 2009

By John McCormack, UMVIM Board, and
the Rev. Kathy LaPoint-Collup

For many years, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has responded to disasters around the world (September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Pakistan, etc.) by providing basic sustenance, health care, and other aid to victims of those disasters. Living out Christ's mandate to serve the poor and comfort the sick, UMCOR has a tradition of being "first in, last out," working alongside other humanitarian agencies including the United Nations, International Red Cross, Salvation Army, and numerous other faith-based organizations.
 
UMCOR is supported within the United Methodist connectional system by generous and ongoing donations of money, volunteer support, and material resources. The majority of this physical support traditionally has been supplied from UMCOR's Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, Louisiana, where resources are collected and stored for shipment to disaster zones within the United States and around the world through the port of New Orleans.
 
However, there has been a growing awareness in recent years of the vulnerability of the United States to disaster - particularly in Western states, where fires, earthquakes, and floods, due to human engineering flaws or natural climate changes, have become more prevalent.
 
Already UMCOR has responded to numerous disasters within the boundaries of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, including the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and flooding in South Sacramento County in 1984 - and it is predicted that the San Francisco Bay Area (population 9 million) will have another major earthquake within our lifetimes that requires proactive planning and preparation.
 
In recognition of this, the International Red Cross has opened a large depot in Reno, Nevada, which is accessible to all Western states. And in the spring of 2009, UMCOR opened a 22,000-square foot depot facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. This facility, known as UMCOR West Office and Depot, will augment the main depot in Louisiana and serves as a material resource depot to assemble and store UMCOR supply kits, providing new opportunities for kit ministry in the Western Jurisdiction.
 
These supply kits (including bedding, birthing, cleaning, health, layette, school, sewing, and bulk materials kits) help care for the most vulnerable persons during times of crisis. They sustain everyday life by providing basic necessities to those who lack ready access to essential supplies. (Current emphasis is on health kits, school kits, and cleaning (flood bucket) kits.)
 
UMCOR West's first shipments may be sent to the Pacific Islands in response to the recent tsunamis there. The depot is close to the Salt Lake City airport, a major Delta-Northwest Airlines hub, allowing for quick logistical air support.
 
Your help is needed
You can support the ongoing work of this new depot in the following three ways:
 
·         Assemble supply kits containing a menu of specific items, and send these to the Salt Lake UMCOR depot. A list specifying what the contents should be for each type of kit can be found at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/getconnected/supplies/ (you may download and print PDF copies of the list for each kit type). Kits should contain exactly what is specified in order to meet exact needs and cultural guidelines. Local churches and church groups (United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, etc.) may also adopt this as a mission project.
 
·         Donate money to help stock the new depot. Checks marked "for ADVANCE Special # 901440, 'Material Resources'" may be dropped in local church offering plates. Payments also may be made directly to the ADVANCE by check, or online by credit card.
 
·         Join a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team from the California-Nevada Annual Conference and travel to the Salt Lake depot to work on assembling and staging kits and other supplies. The work is intergenerational and does not involve construction. Trips can be arranged for various work durations and team sizes. Four UMVIM teams are currently being formed. To find out more, contact Eddie Frutchey in the Conference UMVIM Office at eddief@calnevumc.org or umvim@calnevumc.org, or 916.374.1584, or visit the Conference UMVIM website at www.cnumcvim.org.
 
More information on the new Utah depot can be obtained from:
 
UMCOR West Office and Depot
Reverend Brian Diggs, Director
1479 South 700 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84104-1605
Phone: 801.973.7250
Fax: 801.973.7916
 
By supporting the work of "UMCOR West," you help to take God's healing to persons in need, in the United States and throughout the world.