UMCOR / Sager Brown

HENNEPIN’S  UMCOR  SAGER  BROWN  PARTNERSHIP

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church is a mission partner of UMCOR Sager Brown.  Since 1998 members and friends of Hennepin, in gratitude and service to God and with compassion for brothers and sisters around the world, have served at UMCOR Sager Brown through an annual mission trip in January, and at Hennepin throughout the year by creating disaster relief kits that will be used by UMCOR.

BACKGROUND

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the humanitarian relief and development agency of the United Methodist Church, a worldwide denomination.  Its mission is to alleviate human suffering around the globe – whether caused by war, conflict, or natural disaster – with open minds and hearts to all people.  With its units in disaster response; hunger and poverty; immigration and refugee ministries, health, non-governmental organization, and relief supplies it is enabled to “Be There.  Be Hope”.  [To learn more visit http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor]

The UMCOR Sager Brown Depot, a 48,000 square foot building located on the Sager Brown campus in Baldwin, La., is the headquarters for UMCOR’s relief supply program.  Approximately $4 million in supplies are shipped from it each year.  Notably, as of January, 2010, it held almost 15,000 cleaning buckets, until such time as the next U.S. hurricane, flood or other disaster might require them.   [To learn more and to take a virtual tour of Sager Brown, visit http://sagerbrown.org]

SAGER BROWN MISSION

Historic Sager Brown Mission.  Situated on Bayou Tesche in the small community of Baldwin, La., the site has been a center of mission since 1867 when, with the support of the Freedman’s Aid Society, it was a school and orphanage for African American children.  Purchased by two Methodist Women in the early 1900’s after it met hard times, it was given by them to a forerunner of the current Women’s Division of the United Methodist Church.  Women’s Division operated it until 1978.  Then, unable to sell it, it remained closed until UMCOR utilized the site to respond to Hurricane Andrew.  From this experience, the idea for a permanent depot at Sager Brown was born.  The Depot opened in 1996.

Current UMCOR Sager Brown Mission.  More than 2500 volunteers come to the Sager Brown campus annually to reach out to the world through the Depot activity and to reach out to the local community through a variety of programs.

  • Serving the World.  “Health kits, sewing kits, school kits, layette kits, [and now birthing kits,] bedding kits, and cleaning buckets come to the Sager Brown Depot from United Methodists throughout the United States.  The contents of these kits help to care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis.  Kits also help to sustain everyday life by providing the basic necessities to people who lack ready access to essential supplies.  These kits provide vital support for the work UMCOR does throughout the world.” (Sager Brown brochure, stock number 527916 published by the General Board of Global Ministries)  The kits are processed and stored at the Depot by volunteers until called for.
  • Serving the Community.  UMCOR Sager Brown and its volunteers reach out to the local community through a variety of ministries.  Outreach programs include a housing rehabilitation program for elderly and disabled; Chez Hope, a center for women and children (and a few men) suffering abuse; Head Start; Food for Families, a cooperative endeavor of Sager Brown and Catholic Charities of Louisiana; maintenance of the Sager Brown campus, and assistance in the Sager Brown office.

HENNEPIN SERVING AT SAGER BROWN

Since 1998.  During the time that they are Sager Brown, Hennepin’s mission team along with other volunteers from all over the United States work together in the UMCOR Depot to process and verify kits, and in the Depot Sewing room to create kit items.  They also participate in the outreach programs in the local community and on the Sager Brown campus.  Two special projects of note have been undertaken by the Hennepin team.  In 2005, they converted the little used, air conditioned Sager Brown gymnasium into usable space for the Lagniappe Youth Center, a gathering place for summer youth volunteers after their work hours and a recreation center for community children in Sager Brown programs.  In 2007 they refurbished a classroom to become a museum housing the artifacts and pictures of Sager Brown’s 140 year history.

The Hennepin team brings also brings with it modest but significant donations each year — donations from team members, individuals, church groups and HAUMC International Outreach’s  Volunteer in Mission funds –  which help pay for housing rehabilitation projects in the community and physical improvements on the Sager Brown campus.

2010 Mission Trip.  The following report which appeared in the March 2010 !nSpire describes Hennepin’s most recent service[Insert here the March !nSpire article and picture called “Serving Neighbors Through Sager Brown”.]

HENNEPIN SERVING AT HOME

Since 1998.   People of Hennepin work year round in diverse ways to support the UMCOR Sager Brown mission – providing funds, sewing or knitting items for kits, stalking sales for discount price kit items, and assembling and packing the kits.  In some noteworthy efforts the congregation

  • After the Dec. 26, 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami, gathered and sent with the January, 2005 mission team $5000 worth of health kit items.
  • Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, assembled nearly 2100 health kits, and 120 cleaning buckets.
  • Following the 2008 Midwest flood, assembled 50 cleaning buckets.

2009 through April, 2010.  Since January, 2009 Hennepin volunteers

  • Provided funds for disaster relief kits through 2009 Project 52 and Hennepin Heartwarmers.
  • Hosted a tea party (members and friends of Knotty Quilters), and used proceeds to create many of the 76 UMCOR sewing kits which were delivered by the Jan., 2010 mission team.
  • In 2009, sewed 270 school bags, and all the gowns, blankets, jackets and washcloths for 59 layette kits delivered in Jan., 2010.
  • As a congregation assembled and packed 140 school kits and the layette kits delivered in January.
  • Acted immediately as a congregation and church school to respond to the Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake by funding, assembling and packing 1100+ UMCOR health kits for Haiti.
  • In Feb/March, 2010, purchased supplies, and in a blitz cutting and sewing project made all the receiving blankets, washcloths, gowns, and jackets needed to create 100 UMCOR layette kits for Haiti before an April 1 truck pick up deadline.

EVERYONE CAN HELP.  WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Take part in a January UMCOR Sager Brown mission trip.
  • Sew or knit items for school kits and layette kits.
  • Encourage your circle or small group to make kits.  (For information regarding kits contents and patterns, visit http://sagerbrown and click on Send Relief Supplies)
  • Join the congregation for the Sunday morning kit assembly project that precedes each January mission trips.
  • Contribute for UMCOR kits through Hennepin’s Project 52 and Hennepin Heartwarmers.
  • Whenever you choose to respond to a disaster or ongoing crisis in the world, give your gift to HAUMC for UMCOR use and be assured that 100% of the gift will be used in direct relief for the designated project.
  • Contribute to One Great Hour of Sharing through March Hunger Offerings.  It pays the salaries and administrative costs of UMCOR.

COMING IN 2010

  • Watch for a gathering this summer or fall for people who have participated in previous Sager Brown mission trips, and for potential future mission trip participants.    .
  • In December or January preceding the next mission trip, a congregational kit assembly project.
  • January 9 – 21, 2011 – next UMCOR Sager Brown mission trip.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

To learn more about mission trips and volunteer opportunities at Hennepin, contact

  • Janelle and Cal Vaubel, UMCOR Sager Brown Partnership Coordinators and Mission Team leaders, at cjvaubel@juno.com, or call 952.922.3449.
  • Teams are forming throughout October 2011 for the January 2012 Trip. Get your registration info here.