What Works: Wesley Foundations Assist UMCOR in Responding to Disaster

3/22/2023

By: Matthew Johnson, Connectional and Communications Assistant

What Works is a series featuring ministries across the conference that are vital, thriving and serving their communities. Mission and ministry featured in this segment can also be implemented into your faith community’s missional strategies.

 
MGCCC Wesley Foundation students fill flood buckets.
Wesley Foundation students from two Mississippi colleges are offering their time, talent and energy to assist the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, in their efforts to be a healing presence in the aftermath of disaster. Wesley Foundations are Methodist ministries on college campuses across Mississippi that exist to be a lighthouse for students. While there, students can strengthen their relationship with Christ or meet Christ for the first time. These students took time out of their very busy schedules to serve the needs of people in their community and abroad. Volunteering with UMCOR allowed these students to operate as the hands and feet of Christ for those in need.
Heidi Adams, MGCCC Wesley Foundation Director.
 
For three years at Miss. Gulf Coast Community College, MGCCC, in Perkinston, students have helped fill flood buckets. These five-gallon buckets provide basic necessities, such as household cleaners, laundry detergent and dish soap, for cleaning affected areas. Students work over a weekend to fill as many buckets as possible.

 “This year we did about 50,” said Heidi Adams, MGCCC Wesley Foundation director. “We fill them and UMCOR takes them where they need to go.”

In the past students were able to fill as many as 100 buckets in a weekend, but due to a shortage of supplies there are less supplies to fill buckets with. Despite the shortage, students enjoy being hands on and helping people in their community and those outside of their community. Alise Stringer, a sophomore at Miss. Gulf Coast Community College, describes the blessing she experiences through helping others.
Alise Stringer, second from right, and her fellow MGCCC Wesley Foundation students filled flood buckets.

“At the Wesley Foundation there’s always someone pouring into me,” said Stringer. “It’s a blessing to be able to pour into someone else and help repair the lives of those affected.”  
Wesley Foundation director, Eric Davis, left, and USM Wesley Foundation students.
 
University of Southern Mississippi, USM, Wesley Foundation students helped paint and put down flooring at a home rebuilt by UMCOR after a Hattiesburg tornado. The students worked in shifts from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each Friday to get the work completed. USM Wesley Foundation director Eric Davis describes the motivation driving these students to help and how they were prepared to do the job.

“There’s a sweet spirit among the students at the Wesley Foundation of ‘this is our task let’s get it done’,” said Davis. “We took an early response team training class a year ago so when something happens, we can have college students ready to respond.”

In the aftermath of disaster, it’s a blessing to have all hands on deck to provide help to those affected quickly and efficiently. UMCOR is always in need of willing volunteers who can donate time, funds and material. Click here for more information on UMCOR and to see ways you, your church or youth group can assist UMCOR’s recovery efforts.

What Works is a series featuring ministries across the conference that are vital and thriving at serving their communities. Mission and ministry featured in this segment can also be implemented into your faith community’s missional strategies.

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