Crossroads UMC to serve as Conference’s disaster storehouse
By Kara Witherow, Editor
Constructed during the church building boom of the early 1990s, Crossroads United Methodist Church’s Family Activities Building – a sprawling 3,750 square foot building that once hosted community gatherings, large meals, youth events, and more – now sits virtually empty.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, these large gatherings have, for now, ceased, but the church’s leadership didn’t want the building to go totally unused.
So when they heard of the Conference’s need for space to house disaster kits and supplies, it was easy to say yes, said Rev. Grant Abernathy, pastor of Crossroads UMC in Perry.
“Something we were just talking about as a church was how we could be an instrument for the community. We had already had that conversation,” Rev. Abernathy said. “We saw the need and responded.”
It’s important to have a centralized storehouse of disaster kits, hygiene kits, school kits, and supplies ready to distribute at a moment’s notice, said Luis Morales, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator. Morales said that he’d like to have another collection site in the Valdosta area and, long term, one in each district.
The collection site is just one component of how the Conference is building its disaster response capacity, he said, and the kits are an important part of how South Georgia and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) help in the aftermath of disasters.
“UMCOR has been supporting disasters all over this year, from the fires out West to the hurricanes in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama,” Morales said. “These kits provide care for the most vulnerable after an incident. These kits provide those who are affected – the survivors – with something to get started.”
While hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30, relief supplies would be available for the UMCOR network in addition to being staged in South Georgia in the event of a catastrophic event.
“We know from experience that tornados and inclement weather don’t have a season and the need for these supplies can develop at any time, said Allison Lindsey, director of Connectional Ministries and a General Board of Global Ministries board member.
Cleaning buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits can be dropped off during the hours of 9 a.m. and noon, Monday through Thursday. Prior to delivery, contact Crossroads UMC at (478) 987-3721 to coordinate. Morales (firstname.lastname@example.org) also asks that he be notified
so he can keep a log of the kits.
Funds should not be included with the kits, but sent directly to the Administrative Services Office, PO Box 7227; Macon, GA 31209 and noted for UMCOR Material Resources.
Rethinking and reimaging the Family Activities Building for the current time and situation made sense, Rev. Abernathy said.
“It comes down to usefulness,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to do something good.”
For supply lists and detailed instructions on how to make cleaning buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits, visit www.sgaumc.org/relief-supply-collection.