UMCOR Update: Ways You Can Help

Date Posted: 7/13/2011


The people of Japan observed a moment of silence yesterday to mark the four-month anniversary of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that killed or left missing some 23,000 people and drove 150,000 survivors into evacuation camps.


Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, head of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and Melissa Crutchfield, UMCOR’s International Disaster Response executive, are traveling in Japan, visiting sites that were impacted by the triple disaster and assessing next steps for UMCOR’s role in the recovery.


The executives visited programs UMCOR has supported in the wake of the emergency, including the Tohoku Disaster Relief Center. They also visited the Asian Rural Institute (ARI), which had to temporarily move its campus because of the destruction its buildings suffered and its proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled in the disaster.

Harvey noted the “great pride” of the Japanese people and the commitment of volunteers who have come from all over Japan to assist those in need, some of whom ride their bikes 15 kilometers or more each day to reach their work sites.


Crutchfield pointed out the still uncertain and frightening situation of the nuclear crisis and its long-term effects in Japan. She noted, too, that while the Japanese government has done well in providing temporary housing for those left homeless, the needs provoked by the triple disaster are so huge that progress is slow and resources scant.

Your gift to Japan Emergency, UMCOR Advance #3021317, helps the people of Japan recover and rebuild.



The latest shipment of school kits to Haiti has seriously depleted UMCOR’s supply. School kits provide children with basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and other items.


Collecting supplies and assembling relief supply kits is a great way to be involved in mission without leaving home. Gathering supplies and assembling school kits make for a great VBS project or an activity adults and children can do together. It costs approximately $11 to assemble each school kit.

Learn more about assembling school kits or give towards the purchase of materials with your gift to Material Resource Ministry, UMCOR Advance #901440.



Nelson Alvarez* was born in a poor Mayan community in Guatemala in 1993. His father abandoned the family when Nelson was young, and his mother worked hard to support Nelson and his siblings.

Local gangs tried to recruit Nelson when he was 15. He knew there would be severe consequences regardless of whether or not he joined, so Nelson fled Guatemala for the United States.


He was arrested at the border and placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) because of his young age. The ORR released Nelson into the custody of his aunt Camille*, who lived in Nebraska.

Camille brought Nelson to one of JFON’s clinics in Columbus, Ohio. JFON began working on securing a guardianship order in favor of Camille so that Nelson could be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, allowing him to remain in the country lawfully.


Nelson is presently completing high school and plans to attend college. He attended his immigration interview on May 13, 2011, and was granted permanent residency by the end of the month.

*not their real names


Learn more about JFON through First Monday, JFON’s monthly e-newsletter. Support this valuable ministry with your gift to Justice for Our Neighbors, UMCOR Advance #901285.



During the 2011 East Ohio Annual Conference in Lakeside, Ohio, two surprise guest stars from the Imagine No Malaria documentary, A Killer in the Dark, appeared to be moonlighting as lemonade sellers outside the auditorium.

Logan Martens and Molly Menamara were actually presenting a live display of their child-led initiative that has raised more than $11,000 for the Imagine No Malaria Campaign and landed them a world-debut slot in the documentary.


When Logan was just about to turn seven years old, his mother asked him if he would be willing to ask guests at his birthday party to donate to Imagine No Malaria in lieu of gifts. He accepted without hesitation.


Since that day, nearly four years ago, he found a partner in nine-year-old Molly, and the dynamic duo have been pitching up lemonade stands and selling cookies and any other donated goodies, with all proceeds going to the Imagine No Malaria Campaign. Read more in the UMCOR Notebook.

You can join Logan and Molly in their efforts by giving to Imagine No Malaria, Advance #3021190.



UMCOR currently has staff openings that are based in the New York office and will require international travel.


The Haiti Desk Officer in UMCOR’s nongovernmental organization will provide support for UMCOR’s office in Haiti. Read the job description and apply online.

The Director of Health Initiatives will lead the UMCOR Health team in their US and international programs. Read the job description and apply online.