Disaster Response

St. Luke’s UMC serves as collection point for relief buckets in Michael aftermath

Considering ways your local church or community become more mission-minded? Host an event to organize relief supply kits for people impacted by recent damaging storms, Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Cleaning and hygiene kits are easy to make, cost effective, and can have a lasting impact in the life of a neighbor in need. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) credits kits as one of the most effective ways a person can respond in times disaster response. 

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th street, Indianapolis, has volunteered to serve as a collection point for all relief kits until November 4. Once collection is complete, the kits will transferred and put in the care of the Midwest Mission Distribution Center. 

Learn how you can get involved 



Volunteers in Mission Training helps individuals, teams, and churches prepare for serving either in the local community or around the world. The training focuses on three elements: our calling to be missional; the best practices for building relationships; and how to plan a quality mission experience. Participants will leave inspired and also equipped with practical resources to make your mission and outreach ministry more meaningful, organized, and life transforming.

Cost is $5.00 per attendee, with the optional purchase of a training toolkit, which includes a manual and two books for $25.00. Deadline for registration is November 5.

9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (CST), Saturday, November 10, at The Turning Pointe UMC.
Register Here

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (EST) Saturday, November 10, at Plainfield UMC.  
Register Here

When disaster strikes: How you can help those impacted by Hurricane Florence

The United Methodist Committee on Relief reports that conferences are as prepared as possible to respond to the potential damage caused by Hurricane Florence. At this time, however, they are not seeking teams to come to the area.

Cleaning Kits, Tool Trailers and other supplies have been strategically placed throughout the region. Moreover, experienced Early Response Teams (ERTs) and Disaster Response Coordinators (DRCs) are prepared to assist immediately when conditions are safe for entry in the following conferences: South Georgia, North Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Western North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Peninsula-Delaware, Baltimore-Washington, Eastern Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania and Susquehanna (Northeastern and Central portions of Pennsylvania).

These teams are equipped to bring supplies into affected areas, and commence cleanup and assessment for long-term assistance. Conferences in the region that are not severely impacted by the storm are prepared to send teams and resources to those most affected.



If you would like to make monetary donations to help UMCOR in its work in the region, you may do so by clicking here. You may also give through your local church by designating your offering for Advance 901670.

Make relief kits 

If your church would like to assemble cleaning kits or hygiene kits that will help replace those being used during Hurricane Florence cleanup, instructions on how you can get started are available below.


We encourage you to be in a spirit of prayer for all those impacted by Hurricane Florence. As United Methodists, we are inspired to pray for those who are lost, wounded, and in need of shelter and food. We are also committed to raising up in prayer the first responders who continually put themselves in harm’s way in order to ensure the rescue and welfare of those in need.

For more information on disaster response efforts for people affected by Hurricane Florence and other impending storms around the world, please visit www.umcor.org.


These teams are equipped to bring supplies into affected areas, and commence cleanup and assessment for long-term assistance. Conferences in the region that are not severely impacted by the storm are prepared to send teams and resources to those most affected. 


Journey of a bucket

Once the cleaning kits are doublechecked, reassembled, and packed up tight, they are stored at the UMCOR Depots and their affiliates until they are needed—and in 2017, many did not spend a lot of time in storage. Once a call for a large number of cleaning kits comes in, volunteers and staff pack the cleaning kits onto pallets, which are then wrapped in plastic to insure they stay together during shipping.

Before the busy hurricane season, there was a busy tornado season in the first half of the year. Thousands of cleaning kits were sent to United Methodist conferences in Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, and even a few hundred to Pennsylvania for distribution. After Hurricane Harvey, UMCOR Sager Brown delivered 11,000 cleaning kits to the Texas Annual Conference mission center for distribution in Houston and other areas. The Rio Texas Conference received another 1,400.

Following Irma, more than 5,000 cleaning kits were sent to the Florida Conference—they joined a truckload of buckets that were already in Florida and another truckload that came from Mississippi. The buckets then followed in the wake of Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico. 

Learn how your relief efforts are making an impact on vulnerable lives around the country during times of serious need — http://bit.ly/UMCORJourneyofabucket


Love your neighbor: Hospitality on the go: September 15

Churches are invited to join Rev. Jim Ozler, a retired Elder with 51 years of ministry experience, and Allison Curts of Associate Director of Mission and Justice Ministries, for "Love your Neighbor: Hospitality on the go" a one-day workshop designed to equip and inspire church members to actively take on the work God expects of His Church. The event will last from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Saturday, September 15, at Mt. Pleasant UMC, Terre Haute, Ind. The event will include workshops on Spiritual Formation, Practical Application and Hospitality, Building Relationships, as well as How to know your Community. Cost is $10 per person, which includes lunch and an optional training session from 3-5:00 p.m. led by Rev. Ozler. 

Relief Bucket Collection at 2018 Annual Conference

Midwest Mission Distribution Center will be collecting kits and supplies during Annual Conference. Donations can be taken to the MMDC display, and they will be loaded onto a truck Saturday afternoon for delivery. Midwest Mission collects all UMCOR kits - Cleaning Kits, Hygiene Kits, and School Kits. They are also in need of medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, etc.) as well as bicycles. You are invited encourage your local church to join in supporting this cause by hosting a drive to help gather materials and equipment, or by sharing information regarding the need for kits in times of disaster relief and recovery, as well as the impact UMCOR and Midwest Mission Distribution can have on a community need of hope. For a listing of supplies needed to complete these kits, visit www.midwestmissiondc.org.

Learn more about the UMCOR Relief Supply Kits:

Disaster Response update: Flood waters have receded and districts are now entering recovery phase

INUMC Mission and Justice Ministries has advised that statewide and district-designated response efforts have been effective in allowing families to regain a sense of comfort, security, and normalcy in their daily routines, after areas across Indiana were impacted by extreme downpour and flooding last month. 

In late February, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb had declared nearly 20 counties as disaster emergency areas. Counties in the northwest region of Indiana, as well as the southwest corner of the state, along the Ohio river and northern parts of Kentucky. 

The Conference Disaster Response team, in collaboration with Indiana Voluntary Active Organizations (VOAD), UMCOR disaster response aids, and churches across denominations, have worked cohesively in providing consistent communication and respond to the needs of those impacted by flooding in areas like Plymouth, Elkhart, and Utica, along with several other locations across the state of Indiana. The team advised that there is still much work to be done in rectifying the damages that have forced families, some temporarily, from their communities.

Through the commitment and willingness of local churches and multi-agency resource centers, volunteers have been active in providing aid and support to neighbors across Indiana, and continue in their current effort of preparing areas for long-term recovery.

How you can contribute:

Volunteer your time and effort: Volunteerism plays a significant role in helping with the recovery of areas that have experienced damage from floods and other types of inclement weather. To volunteer your time, effort or resources, you are encouraged to contact your district Disaster Response Coordinator to learn how you can get involved. Invite a neighbor and make an even greater impact!

Give as you are able: Donations to help mobilize sustainable recovery efforts in impacted areas are welcome. You are encouraged to give as you are able through UMCOR Indiana Disaster Fund, at the online giving portion on the INUMC website (fourth option from the bottom), or through your local church. 

Stay in touch with INUMC Disaster Response at inumc.org/disasteresponse


18 Indiana counties declared disaster emergency areas

Due to the recent heavy rainfall throughout the state of Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb has declared 11 counties as disaster emergency areas. In both Porter and Jasper counties flooding is directly correlated to the rise of the Kankakee River. Other counties impacted include Carroll, Dearborn, Elkhart, Fulton, Lake, Marshall, Perry, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland, and White. 

Indiana Michigan Power, the primary utility company that services the Northwest region of the state, has confirmed that many homes are still without electricity, and will remain as such until local inspections have been completed. 

As of Monday morning, Governor Holcomb added seven additional counties to the disaster emergency declaration, increasing the number to 18. The swelling of the Ohio River has impacted areas along the river line in Southwest Indiana and Northern Kentucky, resulting in serious road conditions where road closures either indicate impassibility or road erosion due to persistent downpour.  

The Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team has been actively in communication with Indiana Voluntary Active Organizations in Disaster (VOAD) and with our churches and districts to connect with local faith communities to assess the damage experienced, and how the Conference can best respond to their needs. Churches in areas impacted by severe flooding are advised to contact their respective District Disaster Response Coordinator(s), listed below:

Central District: Jack Haefling, j.haefling@comcast.net

East District: John Young, john.young@inumc.org, Cindy Garver, cindy.garver@gmail.com

North Central District: Fred Dunwiddie, freddunwiddie61@gmail.com

North District: Vickie VanNeve, vvannevel@comcast.net

Northeast District: Gary Bard, ggbard82@gmail.com

Northwest District: Terry Brammer, terry.brammer@inumc.org

South District: Bill Amerson, btamerson@yahoo.com, David Powell, david.powell@inumc.org

Southeast District: Ed Cottrell, edward.cottrell@inumc.org

Southwest District: Bob Keller, kellerrh42@yahoo.com, Ron Flowers, raflowers634@msn.com

West District: Rick Koch, ministerrx@aol.com, Rick Pressel, rwpcmp92@yahoo.com


There will be need of volunteers and ERTs in the near future and more information will come as the team assesses needs. However, the most imperative need at the moment is donations to assist in the cost of recovery and to assist those who have been displaced. Click here to donate now or you can donate through your local church. You may also direct donations to the UMCOR United States Disaster Response Advance #901670.

As we continue to seek ways to be a missional Conference and offer the light of Jesus Christ to others, you are encouraged to be missional in your daily walk and reach out to those around you that have been impacted by this evolving natural disaster. 

For questions regarding disaster response needs or contributions, please email disaster.response@inumc.org.

 5 trailer-size containers set to arrive in Puerto Rico on Thanksgiving Day

Allison Curts of INUMC Mission and Justice Ministries is the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, Louisiana, seeing first-hand the high level of effort and precision that goes into orchestrating the shipment of relief supplies to areas that have been impacted by extreme weather conditions.

Teams of Conference Disaster Response Coordinators, UMCOR staff, and local volunteers have worked hard to pack 5 trailer-size containers with cleaning buckets and hygiene kits for the people of Puerto Rico, who are still in a state of desperation after being hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria in mid-September. Maria blazed through the island with winds up to 175 mph, leaving residents without shelter, basic essentials, and power.

Before setting off on its journey, teams laid their hands on the containers and joined in a moment of prayer for the items and the lives they will touch. The items are estimated to arrive in Puerto Rico on Thanksgiving Day.



How you can help those impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been working intently throughout the past several days to effectively respond to the needs of those impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey, by issuing recovery grants to the Texas and Rio Texas Annual Conferences, as well as delivering cleaning kits to be distributed to those deprived of basic essentials. 

UMCOR has organized a list of five things United Methodists and anyone else who may feel called to provide assistance, through a monetary donation, organizing relief kits, or through raising those impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey in prayer. The downloadable list and a bulletin insert can be found here: UMCOR responds to Harvey

If you wish to provide assistance to those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey, you can give in three ways:

  1. Monetary donations are preferred right now, as monies are needed to help mobilize short and long-term recovery efforts, and provide aid for families that have been displaced or are incapacitated.

  2. With the help your church or community, you can help supply hygiene kits and cleaning buckets (collection and distribution information available below). 
  3. UMCOR trained Early Response Teams are welcome to lend their efforts to help those who are experiencing immediate needs. Personnel must be trained and certified in emergency response procedures.

More information 

5 things you can do



Early Response Team Training: March 10 Burket UMC

Burket UMC, 102 S. Market Street, Burket, will host an ERT Basic Certification Training Class, rom 8:30 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. (EST) Saturday, March 10, 2018. This class is constructed for persons interested in becoming certified Early Response Team members. Cost is $25 per person. Registration deadline is March 7.

Learn more and register

Disaster recovery begins with an Early Response Team

The mission of an Early Response Team is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster.

The team is neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery, rebuild or repair team. Rather, it fills a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church.

It is important to understand that ERTs are trained primarily to respond within their own community. To travel to another district, conference or jurisdiction requires an invitation from that area's ERT coordinator.

All ERTs are trained by authorized UMCOR trainers and given badges by their own conference. All ERTs are encouraged to wear bright green T-shirts as a means of recognition.

Stay up-to-date on invitations to volunteer and scheduled trainings by subscribing to Mission and Social Advocacy e-newsletter - click here to subscribe.

For more information about UMCOR relief projects, click here.

For more information about the North Central Jurisdiction Volunteers In Mission, click here.


Conference Disaster
Response Coordinator


Allison Curts

Associate Director of
Missions and Justice Ministries


(812) 236-1092 (text or call)