Imagine, if you will, a mother giving birth in the bush of Africa, a flood ravaged home or an impoverished child without basic school supplies. These are the kind of challenges addressed by the Relief Supplies Program of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
In early November, a team from several Bay Area United Methodist Churches traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to work at the UMCOR West Depot. This Depot is one of two major stocking locations in the United States for relief kits (the other location is in Louisiana). Kits are pre-packaged supplies designed to address specific needs. They include Birthing Kits, Flood Buckets, School Kits and others.
Our week was devoted to processing Layette Kits – a modest bundle of baby clothes, reusable diapers and a couple of baby blankets. These kits are intended for mothers in other countries without access to basic young baby supplies. We packaged about eight pallets – hundreds and hundreds of kits.
While the work could be tedious at times, we enjoyed each other’s company. We laughed a lot and swapped stories of our lives. The fellowship was wonderful. In addition to packaging kits, part of the team, very talented seamstresses, worked in the Sewing Room making new clothes and repairing items. Their creativity was remarkable.
Our trip included a half day at the Mormon Welfare Complex. This is an impressive facility where the Mormon Church operates baking and canning facilities, a thrift store, a grocery store and employment services program. This was an eye-opening exposure to the steadfast commitment the Mormon Church makes to charity.
We concluded our time at the Depot with a communion worship service. It was a time of reflection on the meaning of our work and the importance of living our faith through service.
One of the most rewarding moments each day was when we finished packing a pallet, we stopped to lay hands on the boxes, say a prayer and bless the pallet. Visualize a warehouse full of pallets, lovingly packed by volunteers like us, each blessed with prayer, ready to go out into the world to do good. It touches the heart in a new and special way.
In Mission Together,
Steve Elliott, Kim Risedorph, Doug and Mary Ellen Huey, Bobbie and Coleman Johnson, Gary and Deb Grundman, Karen Brown and Beth Okurowski.