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Church celebrates UMCOR Sunday by making kits

Celebrating UMCOR Sunday has become a work of precision and coupon-clipping for the people of Oak Grove United Methodist Church.

In March, church-goers in the community just south of Portland created their own assembly line and put together 300 health kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief depot in Salt Lake City.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief depot is supported by your gifts on UMCOR Sunday.

The church can make a record number of health kits this year because of local coordinator Laurie Yadon's watchful eyes. The church raises money in August to purchase items for the kits – everything from brushes to hand towels to toothpaste – and buys all the items in bulk at once so that they can make sure each kit is complete.

Fred Meyer has just the right size of towels for these kits and Yadon and her fellow Women in God's Service (WINGS) group members watch patiently for those towels to go on sale.

Yadon said it's important for her church to do something on UMCOR Sunday (formerly known as One Great Hour of Sharing).

"It's something hands-on. It's not just looking at mission projects on the screen," she said. "It makes UMCOR hands-on."

Since starting this in 2011, Yadon said they've got their assembly process down to a science to minimize the time investment of volunteers. The 300 kits was predicted to take an hour to assemble.

People in the Oregon-Idaho Conference have been an integral part of kit-building and volunteering at the UMCOR depot for years now, according to Conference UMCOR coordinator Donna Waltman. For the last five to six years the Conference has been sending teams regularly to the depot in Salt Lake City to help organize the health kits, school bags and cleaning buckets that UMCOR distributes across the country. Additionally, kits have been organized and collected at Annual Conference for the last three to four years.

When disaster strikes and UMCOR needs to ship out a lot of cleaning buckets from the Salt Lake City depot, there is tangible proof of the importance of this ministry, Waltman said.

Waltman said churches wanting to hold some sort of UMCOR "kit party" like Oak Grove UMC should know the agency is focused on three kinds of relief kits – health, school and cleaning. Information on what is needed in the kits can be obtained at

Kristen Caldwell, UMCOR Sunday, GBGM

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR Sunday calls United Methodists to share the goodness of life with those who hurt. Your gifts to UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to share God's love with communities everywhere. The special offering underwrites UMCOR's "costs of doing business." This helps UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs.

When you give generously on UMCOR Sunday, you make a difference in the lives of people who hurt. Give now.

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