For The OneEvent 2016, the Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, needed to think of an idea that would help get the youth of the conference involved in a mission project. She also knew that the United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR) was in need of health kits.
The goal was to have the health kit “ingredients” ready so the youth could put together and send a lot to UMCOR – 500 to be exact.
“It’s important in my role to nurture youth so they know that even at their age, they can help,” said Tapley.
Health kits provide basic necessities to people who have been forced to leave their homes because of human conflict or natural disasters. Each kit includes one hand towel, one washcloth, one comb, one metal nail file or nail clippers, one bath-size soap, toothbrush, six adhesive bandages, one plastic bag and $1 to purchase toothpaste. All of the hand towels, washcloths and toothbrushes were donated by 4imprint, Via Christy Hospital and Southern Family Dentist, respectively. UMCOR also provided lanyards and pens for the youth.
At The OneEvent 2016, held in Grand Island, Nebraska, Jan. 30-31, Tapley was joined by the Rev. Brian Diggs, director at UMCOR West Office and Depot in Salt Lake City; David Grubbs, Diggs’ friend from Kansas City; and Kathy Monroe, Safe Gatherings coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. Together they set up and talked with the youth as they came to build kits.
“Getting kids involved here will hopefully inspire them to take it home and ask about missions to depots,” said Diggs. “The great thing about UMCOR Kit ministry is you can be 8 or 80 and work together. It’s an intergenerational ministry.”
Two of those kids involved put together more than 100 kits themselves. Alexis Arasenth from Beloit United Methodist Church in Kansas put together 55 kits.
“I just enjoy helping people,” Arasenth said.
Tapley’s goal of 500 kits was reached – halfway through the first day.
“We want them to know the simple act of putting together a health kit can make a difference,” Tapley said. “These kits that they put their hands on will go around the world to provide help.”
This story was written by Rachel Moser, communications coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.