UMCOR Sager Brown Depot, which has hosted thousands of volunteers who support the United Methodist Committee on Relief by working on relief supply kits, reopened to volunteer teams in March 2023. Part of the United Methodist Relief Supply Network, UMCOR Sager Brown Depot was closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the safety of volunteers, staff, and supplies.
In past years, more than 2,000 volunteers annually have prepared approximately $4 million on average in relief supplies for shipment from the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in response to disasters in the United States. Volunteer teams have also worked on community projects in nearby Baldwin. Sager Brown collaborates with affiliate warehouses within the United Methodist Relief Supply Network, including one in Alabama, one in Illinois, one in Missouri, two in Pennsylvania, and two in Texas.
Volunteer teams that were scheduled to visit in 2020, and whose visits were canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, were informed of the reopening and invited to move forward with their plans, according to Amy Fuselier, director of UMCOR Sager Brown Depot. The current plan is to open the new team registration calendar in June 2023 for teams who wish to visit in 2024.
“Assembling a relief kit is one of the special ways people show their support for UMCOR,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. “We are pleased to welcome volunteer teams back to such a storied place as UMCOR Sager Brown Depot and look forward to even more volunteer teams visiting in the future when we are fully open.”
“The UMCOR Sager Brown Depot team is looking forward to hosting short-term mission volunteer teams once again,” said Amy Fuselier, director of UMCOR Sager Brown Depot. “We have missed them just as much as they have missed us.”
While there have not been any changes to the team registration process, fees have been adjusted to meet the rising costs of food, utilities, and maintenance.
New for 2023, COVID-19 protocols have been instituted. Volunteers will be required to have been vaccinated, have had a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and affirm both during the check-in process. Individuals who believe they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within five days of their scheduled trip will be directed not to travel to UMCOR Sager Brown. Volunteers will be encouraged to wear a face mask while in any indoor congregational setting during their visit.
During their visits, volunteer team members assemble, verify and pack relief supply kits. Learn more about kits here: https://umcmission.org/relief-supplies/. UMCOR recently introduced a new menstrual hygiene kit and donations are encouraged to help build needed inventory.
Visiting teams may also participate in UMCOR Sager Brown Depot’s outreach to its local neighbors through food distribution, housing rehabilitation projects, and other community efforts.
Churches gathering supplies for relief supply kits can send those items to any of the affiliate warehouses listed and select the one that is most convenient. Find additional information here: https://umcmission.org/umcor-supply-depots/.
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