While the 2016 Iowa Annual Conference was taking place earlier this month, in the north parking lot, just across from where the attendees were meeting and enjoying fellowship, a big truck from the Midwest Mission Distribution Center was filling up with donations for disaster relief.
“We come here to collect disaster response items, so we can send them back out to wherever the need is, free of charge,” explained Jennie Lowry, who was assisting with the donation intake during the conference. After just a couple days there, she estimated that it was already several hundred pounds full of spiral notebooks, which is an item that has been in particular need.
“We have also flood buckets, school bags, health kits, baby layettes, and baby blankets,” she said, also noting that “Any single item for the kit is welcome, or completed kits also, of course.”
Located in Chatham, Illinois, the Midwest Mission Distribution Center provides supplies to disaster victims at home and abroad. “We’re now affiliated with UMCOR, so we work with them and send them things,” said Jennie. MMDC’s location has made it easier to bring quick relief to people in the Midwest, such as those affected by the floods in St. Louis last year.
“Every little bit counts,” said Jennie as another person dropped a donation into the truck. Many people coming by were learning about the MMDC’s work for the first time, while others had volunteered with them previously and were anxious to see the organization’s presence at the conference.
In those few days, conference attendees were able to make a big impact with their donations, but there are still plenty of opportunities to help going forward. “We have a web page that shows what’s the urgent need. If the shelves have been completely emptied of flood buckets – like the floods last fall – or if health kits have to go out overseas to a disaster, then we ask for specifically those items to come in. The web page is MidwestMissionDC.org, and it’s updated very frequently,”
She also invited people to go to the website to learn about how to volunteer, as MMDC’s operation is truly a “hands on” mission experience. That element is a big part of why Jennie loves being involved.
“It’s just such a blessing to be out and among these volunteer people that are willing to help others,” she said. “It makes you feel good to know there’s still good people in the world, despite what the news stories tell you.”