Seven Months After Harvey: Where are We Now?
By: Sherri Gragg
The Power of UMCOR
March 11, 2018 was UMCOR Sunday, the day when churches throughout the Texas Conference and throughout the denomination join together to support the United Methodist Committee on Relief. No Conference is more acutely aware of the value of UMCOR than the TAC as we have met the devastating fall-out of Hurricane Harvey head on over the past seven months.
The newly released National Hurricane Center Tropical Cyclone Report on Hurricane Harvey details the magnitude of Harvey’s destruction. According to the report, the rainfall totals during Hurricane Harvey were the most catastrophic in the recorded history of the United States with a maximum of 60.58 inches falling near Nederland, Texas. The deluge caused catastrophic flooding. As Texans braved the aftermath of Harvey, UMCOR provided essential relief.
Rev. Scott Moore, Director for the Center of Missional Excellence reports that during the first days after Harvey, UMCOR provided the Texas Conference with a $10,000 emergency relief grant. Since that time, UMCOR has provided the TAC with a $1 million grant to fund on-going relief efforts. The TAC will seek another $4.8 million in grants to fund hurricane recovery through 2020.
Due to UMCOR’s generous support the Center for Missional Excellence has made great strides in laying the groundwork for ongoing recovery including:
- Employment of 24 members across three regional offices.
- Opening 200 cases of individuals seeking aid.
- Hosting and organizing 160 disaster recovery teams from across the United States.
- Distribution of urgent relief supplies.
- 12,600 flood buckets
- 5,000 hygiene kits
- 500 school kits
FUMC Anahuac Honored for Harvey Relief
First United Methodist Church Anahuac recently received two honors for their disaster relief work during Harvey. The Anahuac Area Chamber of Commerce named FUMC Anahuac their “2018 Group of the Year” for their service to the community during the most perilous days of Harvey flooding.
Additionally, FUMC Anahuac received a congressional honor from United States Representative Brian Babin. As Harvey’s floodwaters rose, FUMC Anahuac opened the doors of their facility as a disaster relief storage and distribution site. For two weeks, the church provided 20-25 volunteers each day to receive donations from across the United States which they then sorted and distributed to those in need.
“At one point, cases of water were stacked chest-high,” Pastor Dr. Kenn Munn said. “Our church has been through some difficult times. It was wonderful to be back in a position of caring for others.”
FUMC Anahuac’s investment in their neighbors has yielded an unexpected return. Attendance is up by 40% over the past six months. “The opportunity to live out “Being the Body of Christ” has invigorated our whole reason for being the Church,” Munn said.