UMCOR School Kits Help Children Find a New Normal After Harvey
By: Sherri Gragg
Struggling Children Lose Everything
Students at Barbara Jordan Elementary in Richmond, Texas had only been in school for a few days when Fort Bend ISD canceled school due to Hurricane Harvey. Initially, the cancellation was only for two days, but Hurricane Harvey was far more destructive than anyone expected. The students did not return to their classrooms for almost three weeks.
When the boys and girls walked back into their school, the excitement over the start of a new school year had been lost along with their belongings and homes. School officials estimated that up to 80 percent of Barbara Jordan Elementary School children and their families had lost almost everything. It was a crushing blow to a student body in which 47.2 percent of the children were economically disadvantaged, and 62.2 percent were classified as “at risk.”
The staff of Barbara Jordan Elementary desperately wanted to reopen their school in order to provide their students with some semblance of normalcy, but they needed help to do it. The children’s school supplies had been lost along with everything else. If the children of Barbara Jordan Elementary were to return to the task of learning, they needed the tools to do it.
UMCOR School Kits to the Rescue
“The staff of Barbara Jordan Elementary sent an online request to UMCOR asking for relief supplies,” said Rev. Scott Moore, Director of the Center for Missional Excellence. “We deployed 500 school kits to replace what the kids had lost and get them back in school.”
Five months later Moore received a surprise in his inbox: a heartfelt thank-you from the students of Barbara Jordan Elementary. A photo of the smiling children holding their new school supplies was accompanied by note from the school guidance counselor and brightly colored thank-you cards from the children.
“This is why we do Disaster Ministries,” Moore said. “Today these children are back at school with paper, pencils, crayons, and scissors as they try to get back to a new normal.”
The students and their families have a long road to recovery. Life will undoubtedly be difficult for many months to come as they struggle to replace all they have lost. School, however, will continue to be a haven of stability for the children of Barbara Jordan Elementary. Thanks to the Center of Missional Excellence, and the generosity of UMC members who have faithfully constructed UMCOR school kits, the teachers and students now have the educational tools they need to lay the foundation of a bright tomorrow.
Your church can make a difference in disaster relief. Find out how to join the UMCOR School Kit ministry at the UMCOR website or visit The Center for Missional Excellence.