Responding to Florence: how to help

9/17/2018

As Florence continues to drench the Carolinas, dumping record amounts of rain on the region that has and will continue to lead to devastating flooding, South Georgia United Methodists ask, “How can we help?”

The tropical depression, which was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane after it made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Friday, has swamped communities in North Carolina and South Carolina, damaged thousands of homes and businesses, and left hundreds of thousands without power. At least 24 people have died in storm-related incidents.

United Methodists stand ready to assist those in need.

Below are several ways to help:

Ways to give

There are several ways to make a donation through UMCOR for disaster response relief.

  • Online: make a gift now to US Disaster Response #901670
  • By phone: Call 1-800-554-8583

  • Through your local church: Place your gift in the plate at your church. Please make the gift clearly identifiable as being for the benefit of UMCOR- US Disaster Response #901670 or South Georgia Storm Recovery #6796.
Early Response Teams

Associate Director of Connectional Ministries Allison Lindsey has been in contact with leadership of the areas hit by Hurricane Florence, and South Georgia will be on standby once assessments are made and the needs determined. Luis Morales, Conference Disaster Coordinator, has been participating in UMCOR calls and VOAD (Volunteers Organizations Active in Disaster) conference calls to receive timely updates and information.

Please do not deploy unless the invitation from the affected areas has been extended. There is a deployment procedure for ERTs that needs to be followed. This ensures that the communities have the capacity to accept teams and volunteers and does not place a burden on the local responders.

As soon as it is safe and possible, an invitation will come and will be shared with the South Georgia Conference. You can also follow requests for ERTs through the UMVIM website. The North Carolina Conference will be asking for ERTs, so begin planning now for deployment, BUT PLEASE WAIT FOR THE INVITATION!  

If you are interested in helping North Carolina and have a team ready to deploy, you can contact the North Carolina Conference directly at their Conference Center at 888-440-9167. Due to the volume of calls, please leave a message. They will collect your information and contact you later. You can also visit the Conference website at www.nccumc.org, which will link you to their Disaster Response site.

South Carolina has flooding in the northern part of the state. They are not accepting ERTs nor supplies at this time, but as soon as their needs are identified, information will be shared. Their conference website is www.umcsc.org for links to their Disaster Response website.

Thank you for following the outlined procedures to not deploy before an invitation is extended. Our Conference Disaster Response Coordinators will keep you updated on our Conference website as information is received.

Please also note that there is an Early Response Team training set for September 22 at Pierce Chapel UMC in Midland and October 13 at Park Avenue UMC in Valdosta. These trainings will help equip individuals and teams to respond in the immediate aftermath of a disaster such as this one. Click here for more information.

UMCOR supplies needed

UMCOR cleaning kits (buckets) will be needed in the weeks and months to come. Your church can collect and assemble cleaning kits, which is a great way to have all ages of your church involved in outreach. Instructions for the cleaning kit can be found here.  *Please note: The contents and instructions for relief supplies have changed in 2018, the UMCOR website provides you with updated information.

Drop-off location list for cleaning kits

We are grateful to the following churches for receiving assembled kits. Drop-off locations for cleaning kits through the end of October include:
  • Wesley UMC in Macon (4256 Hartley Bridge Rd, Macon, GA 31216). Please call the church office, (478) 781-0332, to make arrangements before dropping off your items.
  • Brunswick First UMC (1400 Norwich St, Brunswick, GA 31520). Please call the church office, (912) 265-4313, to make arrangements before dropping off your items.
  • Christ UMC in Albany (505 Byron Plantation Rd, Albany, GA 31721). Please call the church office, (229) 436-3373, to make arrangements before dropping off your items.
  • Calvary UMC, Swainsboro (421 S Main St, Swainsboro, GA 30401). Please contact Rev. Mark Miller, (706) 505-4196, to make arrangement before dropping off your items.
  • Grace UMC, Vidalia (1200 Aimwell Rd, Vidalia, GA 30474). Please contact the church office at  (912) 537-3973 to make arrangements before dropping off your items.
“My prayers for those affected by this storm also include my gratitude to God for the well-prepared emergency response teams in South Georgia,” said Bishop Lawson Bryan. “Whenever the storms of life are raging I thank God that the South Georgia Conference will be Alive Together in Christ and Alive Together in the World.”