Hands-on mission project at AC 2016: Health kits

March 01, 2016

As it is every year, the 2016 Annual Conference session will be a busy time for everyone. But by sparing just 10 minutes members and guests can make a difference in the lives of those affected by natural disaster or human conflict.

That's how long it takes to assemble a United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) health kit.

During this year's Annual Conference, folks will have the chance to stop by the assembly table and put together health kits. The goal is to assemble 1,000 health kits between Wednesday evening and lunchtime on Saturday. Health kits provide basic necessities to people who have been forced to leave their homes because of human conflict or natural disaster. Health kits are also used as learning tools in personal hygiene, literacy, nutrition, and cooking classes.

Items included are:

  • hand towel
  • washcloth
  • comb
  • metal nail file or nail clippers
  • bath-size soap
  • toothbrush
  • adhesive bandages
  • plastic bag
  • Toothpaste (added right before shipping)

All the materials for the kits will be provided. Folks are just asked to stop by the assembly table any time to spend 10-15 minutes to pack a kit or two.

The Annual Conference registration form includes the option to make a $2 donation to cover the cost of toothpaste and shipping. Since toothpaste expires, tubes are not placed in the kits when they're assembled. This donation helps purchase toothpaste that can be added to the kits right before shipping and cover the shipping cost of the entire kit.

When Greg Forrester, UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for Disaster Response in the United States, spoke to the members of the Extended Cabinet in February, he said UMCOR is in dire need of health kits.

Barbara Burnside, Conference Disaster ERT & Mission Coordinator, is organizing the effort. In addition to encouraging everyone at Annual Conference to pitch in and assemble a kit, Burnside asked for prayers "for those who have been displaced by a disaster or conflict as well as the many volunteers worldwide who minister to them."

Help supervise health-kit building at Annual Conference

With the continuing flooding in Texas and many ongoing, active disasters, we have set a goal of building 1,000 health kits during the course of the Annual Conference session. To help us reach our goal we need volunteer supervisors to facilitate the process.

The kit building schedule is listed below. If you can fill or partially fill any of the shifts on the kit-building schedule, please email or call Barbara Burnside, Conference Disaster ERT & Mission Coordinator at baburnside@neumc.org or (978) 682-8055, ext. 135. Only two volunteers are needed per shift and will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.

We are fortunate to have experienced UMCOR HUB managers from one of the four HUBS in New England, St. James UMC HUB in Merrimack, NH, who will oversee each shift, train volunteers and answer any questions. Learn more about HUBs

Wednesday, June 15
6:30-9 p.m.
Thursday, June 16
8-9:30 a.m.
9:30 to noon
Noon to 1:30p.m.
6:30-9 p.m.
Friday, June 17
9:30 to noon
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
2:30-4:30 p.m.
4:30-7 p.m.
6:30-9 p.m.
Saturday, June 18
8-9:30 a.m.

Relief Supply kits: Bring your completed kits to Annual Conference

As he has for several years, John Blackadar will have a trailer at the Radisson Hotel to collect completed Relief Supply kits. The trailer will be parked in the back employee parking lot around the right side of the Radisson as you face the front of the building (same location as 2015). 

Completed relief-supply kits can be dropped off at the trailer during the following hours: 2:30-5 and 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m. Thursday and 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30-9 p.m. Friday or 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday.   

At other times, completed kits can be dropped off at the Health Kit assembly area – outside of Salons A and D at the Radisson. (See a hotel floor plan). 

Learn more about how to make kits.

Due to the 85 currently active U.S. disaster sites, the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) relief supplies are at unusually low levels. There is a strong need for health kits and school kits. UMCOR says it is currently at capacity with birthing kits. Learn more about how to make kits.