We are now understanding the full scale of this disaster. It has wrecked lives, homes, cars, and hearts. But, the United Methodists of North Alabama are mobilized and making a big difference in the lives of many, many people.
Here is the good news: we have established a supply network through many of our churches, and as of today, have organized a volunteer network through the UMCOR and UMVIM partnership of Emergency Response Training [ERT]. ERT teams from within and outside of the conference are now out in full force making a difference.
But, it is not over. We will remain after the news cameras have gone, and after other organizations have left. United Methodists are here to stay.
Here is what you can do:
-Donate supplies. Click here for a list of network churches which are now accepting supplies. Please call ahead and be sensitive that these churches can quickly become overwhelmed and supply needs will rapidly change.
-Give through the UMCOR Advance. The Advance allows 100% of your donation to go to the affected area. You can donate online by clicking here, or through writing a check to the conference office and adding the Advance number 3021326.
-Volunteer. I encourage United Methodists to volunteer with organizations like Red Cross and United Way. For individuals who are ERT trained through UMCOR in the past 5 years (for team leaders 3 years), and wish to act as an early response team, click here to register. Please be patient as volunteer requests come in rapidly. We will have more ERT trainings soon. Please check the conference website for details to come.
-Pray and listen. Be a witness with those folks who have been affected. Listen to their story, and lift it up to God everyday.
Everyone has worked extremely hard. I hope you know churches across the conference have been showing the love of Christ to those in need, and United Methodist have been, are, and will continue to be on the ground, being the body of Christ for the world.
Rev. Matt Lacey, Director of Mission and Advocacy, North Alabama Conference