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UMCOR issues urgent call for disaster relief donations

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is assisting residents displaced by the June 24 Angora Ridge forest fire near Lake Tahoe, Calif. A wave of spring and summer storms and fires across the United States has almost tapped UMCOR's domestic disaster fund. A UMNS photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

July 12, 2007 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is asking for financial donations to replenish its U.S. disaster relief fund after record-breaking rains, fires and winds have drained the account during the spring and summer.

"Although we are not reading or hearing about these disasters every day in the news, there are hundreds of people in dire need in Texas, Kansas, California and many other places in the U.S.," said the Rev. Sam Dixon, interim chief executive of UMCOR, which is part of the denomination’s Board of Global Ministries.

United Methodists already have assisted recent flood and tornado victims in Texas, for example, and are assessing flood damage in Kansas and Oklahoma. Local United Methodist churches in the Lake Tahoe community in northern California are addressing the needs of residents displaced by the Angora fire, many of whom are service workers without insurance. An UMCOR grant assisted with emergency shelter, food, clothing and transportation.

But after two years of unprecedented donations designated for hurricane recovery, the relief agency is scrambling to provide long-term disaster response funding for domestic needs.

"Our Domestic Disaster Response Advance has been tapped for 28 U.S. emergencies in 24 different annual conferences since September of 2006," Dixon said. "UMCOR has delivered $856,146 in both emergency grants and long-term recovery initiatives in that time."

Additional requests for funding are anticipated, especially as recovery operations begin.

"We are profoundly thankful to United Methodists who have given so generously in the past, but now the need is threatening to outpace the resources."
-The Rev. Sam Dixon

"We are profoundly thankful to United Methodists who have given so generously in the past," he said, "but now the need is threatening to outpace the resources."

All designated donations to UMCOR are directed to programs specified by donors. Dixon hopes church members will "continue to respond in a generous and timely way" to disaster-related needs.

To assist with donations, the agency is offering a new bulletin insert for church worship services, which can be downloaded online at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/getconnected/resources/cbi/ on the UMCOR Web site. Emergency offering envelopes also are available at http://gbgm-umc.org/e-store/detail.cfm?ID=295 for the cost of shipping and handling.

Contributions by check can be made through a local church or directly payable to UMCOR and mailed to P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087, indicating Domestic Disaster Response Advance #901670 on the memo line. Credit card donations can be made online at UMCOR’s Web site or by calling (800) 554-8583.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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