By: Brandy Bivens, GCFA
For the past several years, Southeastern Kentucky has experienced severe flooding that destroyed homes and communities. In late February 2021, Beattyville, Kentucky was hit with torrential down pours that covered the town center with up to seven feet of water.
With no way to drive down Main Street, local shops and homeowners were forced to use boats to get to their homes and businesses. However, this didn’t deter volunteers from churches within the Central Appalachian Missionary Conference (CAMC), formerly known as Red Bird Missionary Conference, from responding immediately. United Methodists lined up to pass out water and distribute food, clothing, and hygiene products to those in need.
At this year’s annual conference, CAMC set a goal to fill 40 flood buckets and make 40 hygiene kits to be well prepared the next time disaster strikes, a ministry called Project Flood Relief.
“Those buckets, they’re just simple things. But, when it comes to people who don’t have anything anymore, who don’t know what to do or don’t know who’s going to help them, we can say, ‘Here’s a washcloth. Here’s a toothbrush.’ We can tell them that they’re not alone and that comes from your love, prayers, care, and financial generosity,” Pastor Jack Short said.
The Minnesota Annual Conference has been a dedicated partner in mission with the CAMC, sending teams of volunteers, supplies, and much needed financial resources. This year, 40 percent of the Minnesota Annual Conference Love Offering will go to CAMC to help with Project Flood Relief, an incredible display of the United Methodist connection active in mission to help those in need of care and compassion.
“When Minnesotans have been the victim of flooding and tornadoes in the past, United Methodists from several conferences have come to our aid. We are happy to return the favor in Appalachia. Each of us has a responsibility to reach out and help our brothers and sisters in their time of need,” said Rev. Lyndy Zabel, global connections and missional initiatives coordinator for the Minnesota Conference.
The connectionalism went beyond CAMC and Minnesota. The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the denomination’s finance and administrative general agency, runs a ministry partner program that vets and arranges for special programs and discounts specifically for United Methodist; The Home Depot has been a longstanding ministry partner of the general agency.
The Home Depot recognized the importance of this vital flood bucket ministry and offered their help. The organization graciously donated 100 buckets with lids to the Conference to help defer some costs and raise momentum for Project Flood Relief.
Mike Daniel, the Account Representative for the Home Depot Pro Xtra Loyalty program commented, “The Home Depot has actively been serving United Methodist congregations and affiliated ministries for many years. We have a strong commitment to community and The Home Depot seeks to be present and as helpful as possible when disaster strikes. We are pleased to partner with the Central Appalachian Missionary Conference and contribute to their transformative work in Southeastern Kentucky.”
The Home Depot Pro Xtra Loyalty program is a free program for United Methodist ministries giving them access to discounts and bulk buying opportunities that help maintain church properties.
Project Flood Relief is an ongoing need in the central Appalachian region, and there are still opportunities to support this vital ministry.
Brandy Bivens serves as communications director for the General Council on Finance and Administration.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church