Twenty-four members of Sycamore United Methodist Church were recognized in a special send-off ceremony. The group leaves Saturday for a week of disaster-relief work in the area surrounding Sager Brown Depot, in Baldwin, La., which is in the poorest parish of the poorest state.
In addition to rehabbing buildings in the area ravaged by storm and wear, many of the group will work in the depot, one of only two shipping facilities of the United Methodist Church, from which each year several million dollars of worldwide disaster supplies are shipped, wherever they are requested by United Methodist Committee on Relief, or UMCOR.
Supplies also are trucked in to statewide disasters such as Sandy devastation. Making this all happen are several thousand volunteer workers, including the team from SUMC. UMCOR Sager Brown also reaches out to the community by providing volunteer assistance to a shelter for abused women, a Head Start program and a food distribution center.
SUMC volunteers have been lending a hand for the past 10 years, finding the spiritual reward greater than the work itself, whether they choose to work in the depot packing cleaning buckets, school bags, health kits, layette kits, birthing kits and sewing kits, or in the sewing room making various garments; or working in the community agencies, rehabbing homes, or campus chores.
Devotions are held every day as each group plans and all groups are brought together for a Vespers program of summing up the week. Participants enjoy the camaraderie of meeting the home residents and other volunteers they work with. Dorm life is rich with three meals with a Southern flair and much friendly conversation and making friends.
Participating this year in the SUMC group are: Pastor Bill Landis, Nancy Davis, Team Leader, Marlin and Phyllis Anderson, Becky and Bob Brown, Denise Cheek, Gail Cradduck, Midge and George Hartsuch, Mary Beth Hutchison, Alice and Gil Larimer, Juanita Lemerand, Warren Lowe, Joel Maurer, Shirley Pitman, Lois and Joe Richard, Peggy Simonds, Jennifer Stramaglia, Joe Villa, Kari Waller and Nellie Winters.
The group will return Feb. 16. To donate to UMCOR or learn more about UMCOR or the mission trip, call SUMC at 815-895-9113.