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Web link allows online hurricane donations

 


Web link allows online hurricane donations

Sept. 17, 2004

By Linda Green*

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo courtesy of Tom Hazelwood, UMCOR

United Methodist volunteers unload a truck of food near Punta Gorda, Fla.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)-A new Web link enables people to support United Methodist hurricane relief by making financial contributions online.

United Methodist Communications has created www.UnitedMethodistRelief.org to direct donations to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The new Web feature allows financial contributions to be made safely and quickly.

"UMCOR has already made it possible to receive donations by telephone to support the Advance, and this Web link is an extension of that ability by taking the response online," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive at United Methodist Communications. The Advance for Christ and His Church is a United Methodist giving program that supports relief efforts and other ministries worldwide.

"In light of the urgent human need that results from these hurricanes, we are providing a link which enables people to contribute to UMCOR hurricane relief online in a manner that is identical to the methods that they can use by making a telephone call," he said. "It’s an incredible opportunity for the church to make it possible for people to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of the hurricane."

United Methodist Communications manages the denomination’s Web ministry by hosting the church’s official site at UMC.org. The hurricane relief link informs people that the church is actively ministering to human need, Hollon said.

Gifts of money are critical to ensure UMCOR’s continued readiness as more hurricanes threaten, according to the relief agency’s Web site.

The new Web address is being promoted through Google.com, the online search engine, so finding the hurricane relief link is easy for anyone wanting to provide aid. The Google relationship will enable the church to reach new audiences outside the denomination. The link can be found by typing in keywords such as "hurricane," "United Methodists," "hurricane relief" and "Ivan." The visitor is taken to a page that explains what the church is doing in hurricane relief. The link also includes information on how to make a financial contribution or participate as a volunteer.

"We’ve made it as easy as possible to support the ministry of the church," Hollon said. "We are pleased that people are seeing the link and are making use of it."

People can support the relief work at a variety of levels. A donation of $5 provides a blanket to a flood victim; $45 supports a bucket of cleanup supplies; $100 pays for counseling to a family that lost all of its possessions; and $500 will help buy rebuilding materials for an uninsured homeowner.

"We are enabling people to provide gifts of hope," Hollon said.

According to the United Methodist Committee on Relief hotline, officials have begun initial damage assessments in Mobile, Ala., which was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan Sept. 16. The storm cut a 300-mile track across the Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference, and UMCOR will assist in cleanup and recovery as soon as the damage assessment is completed.

In addition, the agency is helping in Florida, which was ravaged by Hurricanes Charley and Frances, and weighing options for a response in Puerto Rico, which was hit by Tropical Storm Jeanne.

Besides online contributions, people can make donations in traditional ways. Checks should be written to UMCOR and earmarked for "Hurricanes 2004," UMCOR Advance No. 982410. Checks can be placed in church offering plates or mailed directly to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, N.Y. 10115. Credit-card donations can be made by calling, toll free, (800) 554-8583.

The agency continues to call for donations of cleaning supplies. Specifications can be found at http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor online at the "UMCOR Kits" link.

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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