By: Christa Meland
Forty-four Minnesota United Methodist churches donated tornado, health, and cleaning kits to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) last week as part of a statewide collection effort.
Rev. Lyndy Zabel, the Minnesota Conference’s director of community engagement, coordinated the effort and estimates that the total amount collected exceeds 4,000 pounds. In addition to the kits, churches also donated medical supplies, walkers, wheelchairs, and even a treadle sewing machine.
The kits will be distributed to disaster-ravaged areas around the world where they are needed most. Some will likely be used for tornado relief in the Midwest and hurricane relief elsewhere in the U.S.
“The steadfast loyalty of those committed to healing a broken world through outreach and missions—even despite the pandemic, Zoom, and everything else—inspires and encourages me,” said Zabel. “There are United Methodists all around our state who are seeking to—as John Wesley said—do all the good they can, at all the times they can, whenever and wherever they can, to all the people they can. It’s in our DNA.”
On July 9 and 10, Zabel drove a truck to designated collection sites around the conference: Hope UMC in Duluth, Akeley UMC, Park UMC in Brainerd, First UMC of the St. Cloud Region, Coon Rapids UMC, Eden Prairie UMC, and Hope UMC in Blue Earth.
A representative from the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC), a hub for UMCOR relief supply collection and distribution, then met Zabel and other volunteers at the last collection site, Hope UMC in Blue Earth, to pick up the supplies that had been donated from around the state and take them to MMDC in Pawnee, Illinois.
Zabel noted the generosity of the many individuals that participated in the collection effort.
“People were glad to contribute, some driving many miles to do so,” he said. “The hospitality was great at each host site.”
Huge thank you to these 44 churches for donating as part of the “summer relief kit tour”:
Advent UMC, Eagan
Brooklyn UMC, Brooklyn Center
Centennial UMC, Roseville & St. Paul
Community UMC, Columbia Heights
Community UMC, Monticello
Coon Rapids UMC
Crane Lake Chapel, Orr
Cross Roads UMC, Spicer
Cross Winds UMC, Maple Grove
Eden Prairie UMC
Elk River UMC
Evangel UMC, Rochester
Faith UMC, Eyota
Faith UMC, Farmington
Faith UMC, St. Anthony
Faith UMC, Sleepy Eye
Faith UMC, South St. Paul
First UMC of the St. Cloud Region, Sartell
First UMC, Stillwater
Graham UMC, Rice
Hope UMC, Blue Earth
Hope UMC, Duluth
Immanuel UMC, Corcoran
Living Spirit UMC, Minneapolis
Messiah UMC, Plymouth
Open Doors UMC, Wells & Kiester
Park UMC, Brainerd
Riverside UMC, Park Rapids
Portland Avenue UMC, Bloomington
The Grove UMC, Woodbury & Cottage Grove
The Well UMC, Rosemount
White Bear Lake UMC
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church