One Great Hour:
One great ministry
By Mat Merker
The One Great Hour of Sharing special offering this March 6 goes to support the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Every dollar given to UMCOR goes directly to aid those affected by disasters such as the tsunamiravished areas of Southern Asia, the hurricane-pounded coastal regions of the United States, or our own Tazewell District razed by floods.
UMCOR is able to do this because of the support from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering that partly underwrites administrative costs. The dollars we give in this special offering enable UMCOR to carry out its mission, which is "to provide immediate relief of acute human need and to respond to the suffering of persons in the world caused by natural, ecological, and civil disasters or political turmoil."
What happens to the health kits, school kits, flood buckets and other kits we bring to Annual Conference each year? They are sent to Sager Brown, the UMCOR Depot in Baldwin, La., where more than 2,700 United Methodists each year volunteer to process tons of disaster relief supplies. Our kits are received, prepared, packaged and held until there is a need. Then they are packed into containers and shipped immediately to those in need. Each container is valued at $167,000 to $360,000.
Sager Brown's 25-acre campus looks more like a sedate college on the banks of Bayou Teche than a working depot with a deep-water dock in the business of providing and shipping lifesaving supplies. The vast warehouse processes health kits, school kits, sewing kits, layette kits, mops and brooms, flood buckets, generators, bedding packs, and a multitude of other donated supplies to ease human suffering.
Churches planning a first-time Volunteers in Mission project should seriously consider going to Sager Brown. Adult volunteers of all ages are welcome. Groups that fit in one minivan and teams that fill two buses are welcomed. Special skills such as carpentry or plumbing are not needed. The ability to follow directions and willing hands to sort and pack are the requirements.
The reward is the knowledge that the health kit you pack today will be in the hands of a child who was the victim of the tsunami tomorrow. Or, the flood bucket you packed may be used to clear the mud from a flooddamaged home in Tazewell District.
For further information about volunteering or donation needs for the depot call 1-800-334-4221 or go to www.sagerbrown.org.
Remember, your support of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering makes UMCOR's work possible.
The Rev. Merker is conference secretary of global ministries. She also is pastor at Benton UMC in Cleveland District.
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