An advisory about items to be included in relief kits and school kits being created for the Thanksgiving Ingathering was sent out recently. Guidelines for what is to be included in the kits is found on page 11 the Thanksgiving Ingathering booklet. (Click here to download the Thanksgiving Ingathering booklet.)
Questions have been raised about the advisory to cover over country of manufacture and flag logos that appear on items, particularly spiral notebooks.
UMCOR representative James Rollins offers some clarification about what must be done about logos/symbols and expresses appreciation for the support and generosity of the Iowa Annual Conference.
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is grateful for the prayers and support that the Iowa Annual Conference provides so generously each year. UMCOR realizes that without the generosity of the United Methodist people worldwide, our ministry would not exist.
UMCOR is charged by the United Methodist Church with assisting the most vulnerable people affected by a crisis and/or by chronic need—without reservation or conditions. We believe all people have God-given worth and dignity, and we strive in our ministry to honor cultural differences.
Because of the often sensitive cultural and political contexts that surround the people we assist, we cannot allow any patriotic—or even any religious—symbols to be used in the relief kits. Well intentioned though these are, including them in the kits can create an obstacle that keeps this valuable relief aid from reaching the people we seek to help. Our priority must be to get aid to the most vulnerable populations.
UMCOR does not require that the source of manufacturing be removed from kit contents. So, if an item in a kit has a stamp that says, "Made in USA" or "Made in China," that stamp does not need to be removed. In fact, we include items made in various different countries in the UMCOR relief kits.
Bringing hope and help to people in need is both a simple act and selfless one. John Wesley's wise words ring so true in our humanitarian work, in which we must "first, do no harm."
UMCOR and I personally are grateful for your prayers and support.
Please contact the UMCOR office with any questions or concerns you might have: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 1-800-554-8583
Again, we are grateful for each of you!
Grace and Peace,
James (Jay) Rollins, Director of Marketing and Communications