MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -Saint James United Methodist Church’s disaster relief team is preparing to send teams and supplies to the Florida panhandle where many were impacted by Hurricane Michael. Lester Spencer, the church’s lead pastor, said the church is part of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has been in contact with leaders from sister churches in the impacted areas.
“We have churches in Mexico Beach, Marianna, Florida and all of the impacted areas,” Spencer said. “Of course, Panama City has multiple Methodist churches. I was on the phone this morning with the pastors in Lynn Haven and the pastors in Panama City. They were talking about the incredible damage, not only to their church building but to their people, their communities and their towns.”
Spencer said the church was already gathering cleaning supplies for people impacted by Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas just weeks ago, when they got news that Michael would likely cause significant damage. Now that the storm has passed, the team is preparing to respond to the area once it’s safe to enter and offer their help.
Jagger Eastman, the associate pastor of mission and outreach, said everyone in the community is invited to come to the church, pick up donation buckets, fill them with supplies and drop them back off at the church.
Each bucket has a supply list inside, and different supplies lists indicate different needs throughout the impacted area.
“We have cleaning kits, hygiene kits and muck kits,” Eastman said. “Each has a different purpose that it serves. Cleaning kits are more for once a house has already been stripped out.”
He said hygiene kits are to help rid structures of germs and bacteria that have been brought into the house from things like debris and flood water once a house has been cleared.
“Muck kits are filled with crowbars and hammers and work gloves and things like that,” Eastman said. "They’re things they can use to rip out dry wall and carpet and all those good things.
Eastman said he expects the church will be sending relief for months to come. If you want to be a part of the missions team being sent to help with the clean-up effort, you can contact Eastman at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the teams and supplies buckets from St. James, the church will send a check to the United Methodist Committee on Relief on behalf of a number of United Methodist Churches in the area.
If you want another method of helping those affected by Hurricane Michael, you can give monetary donations to the American Red Cross here. All donations will be used to purchase items to meet the immediate needs of Floridians recovering from the storm.