The Alabama-West Florida Conference is announcing a new online portal that will register Hurricane Michael volunteer teams. The new portal was established through the Planning Center software, which many medium- and large-sized churches use to register church check ins, membership tracking, registrations and fees.
This user-friendly site is simple and allows conference leaders to quickly match teams and their skills with the appropriate need. Teams are also able to request specific work days. The data will come into the Incident Command Center at Woodlawn UMC where they will assess the information. In the long-term efforts, the conference will assume this responsibility.
“Due to the overwhelming response we have seen from people wanting to help, this is the best way we can be effective and serve the most people in need,” said Rev. Shawn York, Hurricane Michael Response Director. Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, stated, “It is also essential that the conference be able to track volunteers, regardless of skill level, for potential grants. We are grateful to Chris Holbrook at Gulf Breeze UMC for his work on this site.”
The response effort is also now open to out-of-conference ERT Teams who are badged and 100% self-contained (bring your own food, water, gasoline and either have your own housing/lodging or enter and leave the same day). We are appreciative of these dedicated volunteers who have a heart for mission and service.
Click here to access volunteer team portal.
Port St. Joe and FUMC Panama City are in need of the traditional UMCOR cleaning kits (flood buckets) that we frequently encourage churches to assemble. They have received several shipments but need more due to the severe storm surge Hurricane Michael produced. We encourage our local churches, Sunday School classes, youth groups and others to assemble these as soon as they are able and deliver to a district collection site. From there they will be delivered to these local churches.
Thank you for the numerous ways you are helping!
We continue to assess the needs in the Marianna-Panama City District. As previously stated, our greatest needs are prayer and monetary donations. We are most grateful for the outpouring of love we have received.
In relation to supplies, we respectfully request that no more water, food or clothing be sent to our collection sites at this time. The needs are frequently changing and we strive to adapt to the situation. Click here for an updated supply list.
We continue to train ERT teams as much as we are able. Click here for upcoming training options. We still need volunteers (any skill level to distribute supplies and pick up debris) and trained in-conference ERT teams to tarp roofs. To register your volunteer team, contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356.
If you or your team is being assigned to a certain work site, it is with good reason. Please keep the following in mind: come with a humble spirit with a servant’s heart doing whatever is asked and suspending judgement. Try to assume the best of people. Those on the ground know what is most needed.
Thank you again for your dedication to this long-term effort. Pray with us that we will best serve those with a Christ-like heart.
We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Bishop Ken Carter, the Florida Annual Conference and FUMC Ormond Beach for their incredible matching challenge to raise one million dollars. Click here for article.
The Alabama-West Florida Conference leadership visited the Panama City, FL, area to see several United Methodist churches and pastors. Click here to hear a word from Bishop Graves. We invite you to show this segment in your weekend church services.
Click here to access the work that has happened in the past week in the conference related to Hurricane Michael.
The only change to yesterday's needs request is the following: Rev. Britney Toner has updated the conference that Port St. Joe is not able to process supplies at the moment. She requests Dollar General gifts cards. Those can be delivered to Community Life Center UMC in Gulf Breeze, FL. Previously donated supplies will be stored and distributed in the coming days when logistical operations are in place.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support.
Rev. York owned a construction company prior to discerning his call into ministry. He has extensive disaster response experience after leading the flood relief efforts in 2014 in the Pensacola and Baypines Districts and was also instrumental in leading a response team after the earthquake in Haiti in January of 2010.
“After praying that the right leader in our conference would emerge, it was evident that Rev. York was the appropriate person to direct our Hurricane Michael response,” said Bishop David Graves. “The cabinet and I created this position to manage the on-the-ground conference recovery efforts. Shawn is a gifted leader who knows the panhandle area well and has the experience we need to offer our best response. He will be in the Marianna-Panama City District assessing all damaged areas and will work with Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, to ensure our work is efficient, effective and led by the Holy Spirit. I give thanks to Dr. Dan Morris and Gulf Breeze UMC for allowing us to utilize Shawn’s talents in this way. Join me in praying for Shawn as he begins his response work next week.”
York will also work with Mr. Bob Deich of the Louisiana Conference, who led similar efforts after Hurricane Katrina. Deich has graciously offered to share what he learned after the major storm hit the Louisiana Conference in 2005. For more information on Hurricane Michael disaster response in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, visit www.hurricanemichaelrecovery.org.