Mountain Circuit VIM Team Helps Fill Gap in UMCOR Kit Donations

August 18, 2011

By Scott Wylie
Pastor, Susanville UMC

On September 1, five volunteers from Susanville United Methodist Church – joined by Elsie Wesley of Greenville UMC – will embark on a mission trip to the United Methodist Committee on Relief's "UMCOR West" Office and Depot in Salt Lake City.
After delivering some cleaning buckets and more than 100 school kits (destined for children from Joplin, Missouri to Minot, North Dakota to Africa), these Volunteers in Mission will work at the depot for three days before driving home on Monday, September 5.
The school kits are being assembled by church members in the Mountain Circuit, along with the UMC churches in Portola and Carson City.
If you would like to assemble a kit or bucket, go to this link – UMCOR kits – select a relief kit from the list, and download kit instructions. Each school kit needs a cloth bag to hold it. Church members are sewing these bags using the pattern online at the address above. If you have questions, ask your local pastor or call me at 530.310.0526.
The UMVIM team for our Mountain Circuit received instruction at a one-day workshop last March, held at Susanville UMC and taught by Conference UMVIM Coordinator Phil Bandy. If you would like to become a volunteer or support the team from home, please talk to your pastor.
While at UMCOR West, the Volunteers in Mission for the Mountain Circuit will sleep in a local church, paying about $50 per person per night for lodging. They will be able to buy food at local grocery stores and cook it in the church kitchen, to keep expenses down.
The team had been told to raise $2,500 to cover all expenses – so on Friday and Saturday, August 12-13, they held a yard sale at Susanville UMC. The alley between the sanctuary and office, plus the lawn on one side of the sanctuary, had a wild assortment of items for sale. Baby clothes, bicycles, coffee grinders and bread machines all were sold to fund the mission trip.
Angela Tinsley and Katie Nareau arranged the sale, and Linda Braun, Jane Low, and I helped out. The sale raised more than $800. The United Methodist Women of Susanville UMC will donate another $200 toward the mission trip expenses. 

According to Brian Diggs, Director at UMCOR Depot in Salt Lake City, "There is a priority need for School Kits, Health Kits, and Birthing Kits – and our supplies for building UMCOR disaster relief kits of all types are quickly disappearing."
UMCOR West celebrated its second anniversary on May 31. During these two years, Diggs says, groups from all over the United States have arrived at the depot to volunteer for a week at a time, building disaster relief kits that then are sent all over the world to the most vulnerable populations.
"This spring and summer," he says, "UMCOR West has welcomed record numbers of volunteers, [and] our facility will be filled to capacity until the middle of November. In short, this new ministry here in the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC is booming beyond expectation. 
"With this increase in volunteerism comes a unique problem: namely, our supplies for building UMCOR disaster relief kits are quickly disappearing. It should be noted that all of our supplies come from the generosity of ordinary United Methodists in churches across the country. These supplies are collected at local churches and sent to us at UMCOR West."
Diggs notes that congregation members may also give to Advance # 901440, which allows both the UMCOR West Office and Depot and UMCOR Sager Brown to buy in bulk. 
He asks you to please consider helping UMCOR West by sending completed and partial kits to UMCOR West, 1479 South 700 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84104 – or by giving to Advance # 901440 at "Thanks in advance for your generosity!" he says.
Phil Bandy, Interim Director of the California-Nevada Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) program, notes, "The UMCOR kit ministry has been a great inspiration to many of our members who felt like they could finally do something that truly helped people. Building kits is a great help to people all over the world.
"We are to the point now in this ministry that a volunteer is needed just to coordinate the collection and transport of the thousands of kits assembled every month in our Conference,” he adds.