U.M. Disaster Warehouse helps North Alabama United Methodists serve the world


Rev. Ray Crump stops by the United Methodist Center in Birmingham to pack his truck full of linens to deliver to the U.M. Disaster Warehouse in Decatur. They will be shipped to Africa in early 2015.

Take a warehouse, dedicated volunteers, financial support from local churches and the connectionalism of the United Methodist Church and what do you get?

This fall you get

  • a second container with 1.5 tons of medical supplies going to Africa to help with the Ebola response
  • a shipment of medical supplies and Bibles on its way to a Dominican Republic medical clinic working with people displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
  • thousands of Christmas shoeboxes arriving in Honduras for local churches to pick up and distribute to children in their communities
  • all in addition to year-round collecting, assembling, storing, and quickly distributing emergency UMCOR kits – such as cleaning buckets and health kits – and other needed supplies for response to natural disasters

That warehouse is the United Methodist Disaster Warehouse in Decatur and those volunteers and local churches are you, North Alabama.

The United Methodist Disaster Warehouse is part of a network of United Methodist relief-supply depots across the United States. It is one of eight depots in UMCOR’s network. Rev. Ray Crump, Executive Director of the U.M. Disaster Warehouse, says the warehouse receives supplies from seven Annual Conferences.

This summer and fall volunteers have responded to the Ebola outbreak in Africa by sending two shipments of needed supplies. They discovered the need for hospital bed linens. When a patient dies with Ebola, the linens are burned. This has caused a shortage for clinics and hospitals.

The U.M. Disaster Warehouse acquired sheets and invited volunteers to take the linens to resize them or to come to the warehouse to do the resizing. Rev. Crump explains one of the main sources for the sheets has been motels and hotels that recycle their older linens. People have simply contacted local hotels and asked if they have sheets to recycle and explained the need for them. He says there is still a need for sheets and encourages North Alabama United Methodists to contact hotels in their community. U.M. Disaster Warehouse volunteers expect to send a third shipment of supplies to Africa in early 2015.  

As he collects sheets that had been gathered, prepared and dropped off at the United Methodist Center in Birmingham, Rev. Crump reflects, “Each sheet represents a life saved.”

How you can help

Rev. Crump notes two ways for North Alabama congregations to support the U.M. Disaster Warehouse in it’s ministry year round is through donations and volunteers.

He encourages each congregation to give $10 a month to the U.M. Disaster Warehouse. Financial Donations can be sent to United Methodist Disaster Relief Warehouse, P.O. Box 1133, Decatur, AL 35602 or made through PayPal on the U.M. Disaster Warehouse website at http://UMDisasterwarehouse.com.

All the ministry of the warehouse is done by volunteers and there is always something for a group of volunteers to do!  Rev. Crump explains that the U.M. Disaster Warehouse has opportunities for children’s groups, youth groups, college students and adults. He noted this fall there was one volunteer who was 91 years old. He adds that the U.M. Disaster Warehouse is a great mission opportunity for student groups, especially during the holidays. If you would like to schedule a time for your group to volunteer contact the U.M. Disaster Warehouse at 256-341-9961.

The ministry of the U.M. Disaster Warehouse has touched many parts of the world and has helped North Alabama United Methodists be the hands and feet of Christ during times of disaster.

Rev. Crump sums up the ministry of the U.M. Disaster Warehouse simply by saying, “This is what Methodists do.”

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