More than 600 hygiene kits collected at Annual Conference


With the support from 10 different congregations, the Oregon-Idaho Disaster Response Ministry now has 600-plus hygiene kits ready to deploy, if needed.

Interim OR-ID Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Louise Kienzle challenged congregations to put together the most hygiene kits that could be sent to six different distribution sites around the Conference. Joseph UMC in northeast Oregon collected an astounding 300 hygiene kits.

Rev. Beth Estock said Joseph UMC, with an average Sunday attendance of 30 people, has a robust history of putting together UMCOR kits every year.

"We feel like this is a tangible way to be volunteers in mission and connected to the good work of UMCOR all over the world," Estock said.

These hygiene kits, as well as needed school supply kits and cleaning kits, are desperately needed around the Conference as there is no longer a Western Jurisdiction UMCOR depot in Salt Lake City, Kienzle said. The Conference now has to rely on churches willing to be distribution centers and is grateful for the five who have stepped up so far: Nampa Southside, Trinity Salem, Ranier, Hermiston and Bend.

Kienzle would encourage any church interested in storing and deploying disaster response kits to contact her. She also recognizes in the work of responding to disasters, not everyone feels comfortable going and mucking out houses after a flood or clearing debris from a wildfire as a member of an Early Response Team or United Methodist Volunteer in Mission (UMVIM) team member. They can, however, provide tangible help by putting together UMCOR-approved disaster kits.

"Disaster kits are still needed, and will continue to be needed, throughout our conference," Kienzle said. "This is a great activity for any member of your church to participate in."

Visit www.umoi.org/disasterpreparedness to learn more.