|"We thank you. You have kept us in your prayers, and we are grateful. You have sent donations through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). You have expressed selfless interest in volunteering to come to Haiti to help ...
"Teams of Volunteers In Mission (VIM) will be integral in the long-term recovery. In the short-term, immediate needs are being addressed by UMCOR and a host of national and international relief organizations and technical specialists. The participation of volunteers is welcome after this initial emergency phase is complete. The Methodist Church in Haiti will work closely with UMCOR and VIM to identify rehabilitation projects which match the needs prioritized in the country ..."—from a Jan. 28 letter by Rev. Gesner Paul, president of The Methodist Church in Haiti
|VIM’s Gene Brantley, left, helps Rob and Vera Walton unload health kits from Lamont UMC.
The quake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, killing some 212,000 people, according to official estimates reported one month later. Oklahoma United Methodists were among those quickly rallying aid.
- By month’s end, Oklahoma churches had collected and sent $128,000 to the Conference Treasurer’s Office, designated for UMCOR’s work in Haiti. Within 10 days, worldwide donations online to UMCOR had surpassed $2 million
- On Jan. 19 at the Orders Meeting in Oklahoma City, clergymen and women from across the state gave more than $5,000 in a special offering.
- Oklahoma VIM began signing up volunteers for future mission teams to Haiti and encouraged attendance at Team Leader Training on Feb. 27.
- By Feb. 5, about 5,000 emergency health kits for Haiti had been prepared and delivered by churches to the United Methodist Ministry Center in Oklahoma City. That day, a VIM team from Tulsa-St. Matthew’s arrived to truck the supplies to an UMCOR distribution depot in Louisiana.
- More health kits are needed. OG&E, a major utility company in the state, has joined the ongoing campaign and is publicizing the need among its employees. A second shipment will soon travel south.
- VIM announced that UMCOR School and Layette Kits for Haiti will be collected during the Annual Conference, May 30-June 2 in Tulsa.