Galveston church delivers 33,000 diapers to Hurricane Laura victims
By Lindsay Peyton
Shortly after Hurricane Laura made landfall, Moody Methodist Church in Galveston sprang into action. The congregation began collecting supplies – like tarps, roofing nails, shovels, bottled water – and made a delivery to Orange, Texas. Included in the full truckload of donations were several cases of diapers, provided by the Galveston Diaper Bank. Little did the church realize that diaper delivery would soon multiply – turning into thousands of diapers.
Margarita Sims, Moody’s director of Children’s Ministries, has worked with the Galveston Diaper Bank for the past five years. The relationship began when the church started offering Incredible Years parenting classes, which came free with a meal, childcare and diapers.
“This gives people incentives and support to go to the class,” Sims said.
During COVID-19, the need for diapers increased, and Moody stepped up to continue serving families. “We continued to provide diapers, we just drove to families instead,” Sims said.
Since families could no longer attend the parenting class Penny Scott, the course director and assistant director of Children’s Ministries, delivered diapers to 10 families, following a 30-mile route, from March until August.
When Hurricane Laura hit east Texas and west Louisiana, Moody’s Senior Pastor Rev. Alicia Besser announced that the church would respond and start collecting water and tarps.
“When she added diapers, my antenna went up,” Sims said.
She contacted Kathy Modzelewski, president of the Galveston Diaper Bank. “Kathy came over with her car full of diapers,” Sims recalled.
Modzelewski explained that she went through inventory right away to help with the relief effort. “Margarita put the call out, and I said let me bring you what I can,” Modzelewski said. “I started pulling diapers from the shelf.”
A week later, the National Diaper Bank Network made Modzelewski an offer to do even more. The nonprofit was preparing to donate 100,000 diapers, mostly provided by Huggies, to its warehouse in Austin – and wanted to give 33,000 to Galveston for its relief efforts in East Texas.
“I contacted Margarita again and said, I have this opportunity, but I don’t have trucks or a warehouse,” Modzelewski recalled.
Sims asked Besser what they could do. The pastor called Dr. Godfrey Hubert, the conference’s disaster relief coordinator, right away.
“He answered immediately,” Besser explained. “He was like, ‘I’m on it. We’ll get them.’”
“All of that happened in about 15 minutes,” Sims added. “It was amazing. Talk about connection and relationship. This is it.”
This is a prime example of the connection system of the Methodist church, Sims explained. “Sometimes you think, ‘We’re not going to be able to do that,’ yet if you ask the right person at the right time, you see it all just call in line,’” she said.
Besser agreed, adding that this is also an example of apportionment dollars at work. “We pay our apportionment so we can have a disaster relief coordinator for the conference,” she said. “All I had to do is call Godfrey. And because of that, babies are going to have diapers. What seems like just a small thing becomes a major opportunity.”
Dr. Hubert jumped at the chance to help families in need. “It’s just what we do,” he said. “We connect a need with a resource.”
He called one of the Disaster Readiness Coordinators (DRC) on his team, Colton Popham at Christ UMC in College Station on Monday, Sept. 14.
As luck would have it, Popham said he had the day off from work. “Godfrey told me they had diapers in Austin to pick up and take to Conroe,” Popham recalled. “I said, ‘I’ll do it.’”
He contacted Dick Nelson at Christ UMC to help. “We decided we would make it a road trip,” Popham said.
They picked up the diapers and brought them back to the TAC Mission Depot. There, Hubert and his crew loaded the diapers up to head to east Texas. The following day, the diapers were delivered to Faith UMC in Orange.
“We just want babies to have diapers,” Besser said. “They’re expensive. If families don’t have to pay for diapers, they can buy tarps. To a mama who is worried, trying to make ends meet, diapers showing up are a big deal.”
Moody Methodist Church remains committed to helping with Laura recovery efforts, Sims added.
“We still remember Ike, and what it’s like,” she said. “I think that’s part of the reason we have a real desire to help. At any point, it could be us. It’s just a change in wind direction. We understand how it is.”