“I am excited to expand our disaster response efforts and help the Missouri Annual Conference become a trusted source for disaster kits to those in need,” said Burdin. “We couldn’t do our work in resourcing our jurisdiction and the broader UMC connection in disaster relief without the help of local churches in strategic locations throughout the state.”
Burdin negotiated storage partnerships with four Missouri local churches: New McKendree (Jackson) in the Southeast district, Saint Paul’s (Joplin) in the Southwest district, Woods Chapel (Lee’s Summit) in the Northeast district and Macon one hour north of the Conference center in the North Central district.
These four sites make up a disaster kit network to help expand the storage capacity of the Missouri Conference when it comes to the three disaster relief kits promoted through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR): cleaning kits, hygiene kits and menstrual hygiene kits. These kits are assembled by United Methodist volunteers for distribution in the United States and its territories.
The Missouri Conference Disaster Response Center (i.e., the Conference center’s warehouse) serves as one of the denominations affiliated warehouses.
“I knew that if the Missouri Annual Conference was going to be a true satellite collection and distribution point for UMCOR relief supply kits, we needed to be creative about storage,” said Burdin.
The warehouse in Columbia has limited storage and shares the facility with the ecumenical organization, Festival of Sharing. Expanding the warehouse’s capacity to store disaster relief kits in four additional locations around the state both builds inventory capacity and decentralizes supplies in the event a disaster strikes any one location.
The hub network is yet another way local churches can participate in disaster response work. Each hub network site focuses on a particular disaster relief kit. The Conference Disaster Response Coordinator works with each site manager on kit inventory and deployment. The sites provide storage, verify kits before they are shipped to a disaster site and provide monthly reporting to the Conference.
The hubs can accept kits from local churches working to help build the overall Conference inventory. Please contact the appropriate hub network coordinator before delivering kits to the sites.
1. Missouri Conference Disaster Response Center (Columbia) – All Kits
Through the hub network, Burdin estimates that the Conference’s storage capacity has increased tenfold.
Part of the Conference’s expansion in building capacity to serve the broader UMC connection has also included the installation of shelving in the Columbia warehouse. In February, shelving was installed to increase storage capacity within the warehouse and strengthen the relationship with Festival of Sharing in the shared space.
In recent years, extreme weather events around the jurisdiction has kept Missouri Disaster Response staff and volunteers busy. At the 2023 Missouri Annual Conference, the Opening Worship offering will be designated to help shore up Missouri disaster response funds to prepare for the coming year. For more information about the offering and the Annual Conference Session, visit www.MOACInfo.com.