Each August, parents and students rush through local stores to buy pencils, crayons, rulers and notebooks for the upcoming school year. For many families in the Birmingham metropolitan area, this is a daunting task and the cost must come out of the expense budget for home repairs after the April 27 storms.
The opportunity to collect school supplies for young storm survivors provided a unique project for the United Methodist Women’s National Seminar, being held in Birmingham, Ala., August 13-17, 2011.
Hundreds of women attended the National Seminar event, “Mission: Reconciliation,” bringing school supplies packed in their suitcases to present in an offering in their Monday morning worship service. The school supplies will be donated to storm-affected youth in the Jefferson County Schools and Birmingham City Schools.
Leadership of the seminar sent out the call for supplies in preparation for the trip to Birmingham, and as a way to collaborate with the city for disaster recovery. “We [were] hoping to find ways that the women who [were] attending this conference might be able to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the North Alabama Conference,” said Chandra Allen, Director of The Women’s Table at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn.
National Seminar also collected a monetary love offering, which was designated to the North Alabama Conference Disaster Recovery Fund.
The National Seminar is a quadrennial leadership development event focused on social justice topics. Participants include United Methodist Women conference officers, district officers, selected jurisdictional representatives, selected open applicants and Green Team members. Attendees engaged in bible study, workshops, worship, field trips and actions focusing on current political, social and economic issues that affect women, children and youth.