By: Rev. Lyndy Zabel & Christa Meland
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding in a variety of ways to the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Matthew—which has taken the lives of nearly 1,000 people in Haiti and 38 in the United States. There are several ways you can help too.
The United Methodist Church has been a partner with the Methodist Church of Haiti (Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti) for decades, and UMCOR has had a sustained presence in Haiti since the major earthquake that struck in January 2010.
UMCOR is currently responding to Hurricane Matthew by providing emergency supplies, through a water purification program in partnership with GlobalMedic, and via a food-distribution program through the Haitian church. Initial assistance from UMCOR will exceed $150,000.
The Minnesota Conference has strong connections with Haiti. Four groups within the conference are part of a coalition that regularly sends people to the country:
· Helping Haiti Work: Led by Dr. Leslee Jaeger, this group sends medical teams to northern Haiti and provides micro-loans for entrepreneurial women who want to start small businesses. There was no heavy damage in the area where this group works.
· OC Ministries: This organization trains teachers and school administrators in Williamson and Thiotte, located in the central and southeastern parts of the country. Karissa Ouren, OC’s coordinator for Haiti, reports that there was no major damage in the area.
· International Child Care: This organization, chaired by Rev. John McBride from White Bear Lake UMC, runs Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince. The medical facility, which specializes in treating children with tuberculosis, reports a few leaky roofs but no major damage.
· Haiti UM Partnership: Led by Rev. Pat Toschak, this group regularly takes medical and construction teams to Yvon and Olivier, two villages located on Haiti’s southwest peninsula, which was hardest hit by the hurricane. Hundreds of people in this area have died, and the majority of the homes have lost their roofs.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) will be sending long-term recovery teams to hurricane-ravaged areas when it’s appropriate. Those affiliated with the Minnesota Conference’s Haiti coalition will also travel to impacted areas to be the hands of feet of Jesus in the poorest country in our hemisphere.
Here are four ways you can help the people and areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew:
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church