Great Plains United Methodists asked to help Louisiana flood victims


Disaster Relief in Louisiana from Louisiana Annual Conference on Vimeo.

The rain began late Aug. 11 and refused to let up, dumping more than 12 inches in as little as eight hours. In some locations, rain totals exceeded 15 inches and was tropical in nature as it stalled out over the greater Baton Rouge area.

In fact, local forecasters quickly pointed out; had this system been over open water, it would have likely been classified a tropical storm.

Schools, government offices and most local businesses closed and motorists were urged to stay off local roads. However, several area churches were quick to respond including First United Methodist Church in Denham Springs, a church sadly familiar with disasters.

Whether it was flooding to the church in the 1920s, a fire in the 1970s that destroyed the sanctuary or a second fire in 2011 that wiped out the education building and the family life center, First United Methodist of Denham Springs has consistently received gracious support and assistance from the community.

"Now, it's our time to pay it forward,” said the Rev. Jacqueline King. "After the church was rebuilt in 2011, our church quickly did the work to position itself as a disaster relief center as a way to pay it forward. In the fall of 2014, we arranged to become a local Red Cross shelter."

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Conference said this natural disaster likely will require an extended response. She said she has been in contact with disaster response teams and announced that flood buckets have been requested.

And it that effort that requires assistance from those of us in the Great Plains.

United Methodists are uniquely positioned to help with our partners from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), an organization dedicated to alleviating suffering around the globe, including flooded and ravaged areas in Louisiana.

Just this year, UMCOR has assisted north Louisiana with flooding from torrential rains, and it’s ready to assist now with their signature flood buckets and other disaster response resources. But more help is needed.

Flood buckets generally cost about $65 and contain basic supplies such as detergent, sponges and soap that allow flood survivors to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up. Assembled buckets can be delivered to the following locations by the indicated dates for transportation to Louisiana:

By 5 p.m. Sept. 9

  • Lincoln, Nebraska, Great Plains Conference office at 3333 Landmark Circle.
  • Topeka, Kansas, Great Plains Conference office at 4201 SW 15th St.
  • Dodge City First United Methodist Church at 210 Soule St.

By 5 p.m. Sept. 16

  • Wichita, Kansas, Great Plains Conference office at 9440 E. Boston St.

In Each Bucket

Each bucket contains a specific list of supplies, most of which can be purchased at dollar or discount stores. The supplies are:
  • One 50-ounce bottle or two 25-ounce bottles of liquid laundry detergent.
  • A 12- to 16-ounce bottle of liquid cleaner that can be mixed with water (no spray cleaners).
  • A 16- to 28-ounce bottle of dish soap.
  • One can of aerosol or pump air freshener.
  • A 6- to 14-ounce aerosol or spray pump of insect repellant.
  • One scrub brush with a plastic or wooden handle.
  • Eighteen cleaning wipes (please, no terry-cloth towels).
  • Seven non-cellulose sponges.
  • Five scouring pads (nothing with soap built in).
  • Fifty clothespins.
  • One 100-foot or two 50-foot cotton or plastic clotheslines.
  • A 24-roll of heavy-duty trash bags, 33 to 45 gallons of capacity.
  • Five dust masks.
  • Two pairs of dishwashing gloves (durable enough for multiple uses).
  • One pair of work gloves with either a leather palm or all leather.
  • One 5-gallon bucket with a resealable lid.
More details about how to pack the bucket for easy transportation to the area in need can be found on the UMCOR website at

Anyone wanting to make a financial donation can contribute to UMCOR’s disaster relief fund online at

For more information, please contact the Rev. Hollie Tapley, Great Plains Conference director of disaster response, at 316-684-0266 or via email at

This story was compiled by Todd Rossnagel, communications director for the Louisiana Conference, and Todd Seifert, communications director for the Great Plains Conference.

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