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Florida depot asks for flood buckets, help identifying areas of need

Florida depot asks for flood buckets, help identifying areas of need

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Florida depot asks for flood buckets, help identifying areas of need

Oct. 7, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0381}

NOTE: This is one of a series of articles on local church and district-wide Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

MADISON — Supplies stored in the packing area of the Florida Conference Disaster Response Depot have been donated by churches and individuals from across the conference. Photo by Margaret Throgmorton, Photo #05-250. Web photo only.

MADISON — Florida Conference churches planning mission trips to areas hard hit by recent hurricanes shouldn't forget the Florida Conference Disaster Response Depot in Madison.

Workers there say they can add to the supplies teams have already collected. They're also hoping teams can help identify communities that need the depot's resources.

The depot is located in the conference's North West District and was created about three weeks before Hurricane Charley hit Florida last year to assist with relief efforts in the conference and throughout the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

It is run by United Methodist Cooperative Ministries of Madison County (UMCM), a rural outreach ministry of the conference. United Methodist churches in the area form the cooperative and provide volunteers to keep the depot up and running.

The team includes Linda Gaston, who is paid by the conference to work as a co-coordinator of the depot with volunteer Ron Hidy. That role is an extension of Gaston's work as coordinator of UMCM.  She gets paid to work a certain number of hours, and "the rest is volunteered time," she said.

The depot has dispatched trucks filled with relief items to Mobile, Ala., and several places in Mississippi — Gulfport, Pascagoula, Wiggins — but supplies have been restocked. Health kits, water, blankets, paper goods and other items are waiting to be shipped to affected areas.

Those supplies have been donated by United Methodists from across the state and people living and working in the Madison area, according to Margaret Throgmorton, a volunteer at the depot.

"The generosity of Methodists and others has almost overwhelmed the depot; however, we are working daily to keep the supplies in order and ready to ship," Throgmorton said. 
Gaston said the depot maintains a list of drivers available to deliver supplies, but has been receiving few requests for help.

MADISON — A truck filled with water and other supplies arrives at the Madison depot from United Methodist churches in DeLand and Orlando. Rev. Lawrence Barriner (right), director of the Wesley Foundation at Florida A&M University, helps unload the truck, owned by Tom Fanenbaum. Photo by Margaret Throgmorton, Photo #05-251. Web photo only.

"We want people to continue to send us items, but we also want to know where to take what we have," Gaston said. "We know some people are dumping supplies in parking lots and just letting people come and get them. We don't want to do that. We don't want them to continue to sit in our warehouse. We want the supplies to really go to an area that has a need."

When a request does come in, Gaston wants to be sure she has enough flood buckets to deploy. The depot has 300 or less of the high demand items. "Right now, our biggest need is flood buckets," she said.

The Rev. George D. Potter, disaster response coordinator for the North West District, agrees. He said many flood buckets are needed to make a dent in areas trying to recover from this year's storms.

"People are just starting to get back to their homes," he said. "What is going on is a long-term project, not a week, month or even a year."

He's also concerned about having enough for future needs.

"Many have gone out, and we were just not as well-stocked as we could have been," he said. "We also need to prepare for the next storm because it's not a matter of if, but when."

Gaston said she continues to appeal to churches and ministries to utilize the depot and its resources.

"We are here to help," she said. "We want to be good stewards of supplies people have donated."

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is also collecting items, including health kits, school kits, new sets of twin sheets, new pillows, new blankets and new air mattresses. Health and school kit items and packaging instructions may be found at

Items can be sent to the Florida Conference Disaster Response Depot (call to make delivery arrangements: 850-869-0882 or 850-929-4938) or UMCOR's Sager Brown Depot, P.O. Box 850, 131 Sager Brown Road, Baldwin, LA 70514-0850 (please also provide $1.00 per kit to cover distribution costs and send it to Sager Brown UMCOR Advance #982730, "Contain Your Joy"). The Madison and Sager Brown depots will not accept donations of clothing because there are not enough volunteers to sort the clothes.

For more information about the depot see "Community dedicates depot, celebrates its role in recent storms," e-Review FUMNS {0200} at

This article relates to Disaster Response.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.