INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosier United Methodists gave $455,684 for Haiti earthquake relief and recovery during the months of January and February. The funds were given by local United Methodist churches across Indiana and were sent to the United Methodist Committee on Relief for the Haiti emergency. One-hundred percent of these funds will be used by UMCOR in partnership with the Methodist Church of Haiti for the church’s relief effort during the next five years in Haiti. This past month, UMCOR opened a field office in Port-au-Prince and hired five full-time staff as part of a five-year plan to help rebuild Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

In response, Indiana United Methodist Bishop Mike Coyner said, “I am very proud but not surprised by this generous response. Our Indiana United Methodist people are generous and passionate about missions and helping those in need. I thank God for these gifts.”

Hoosier United Methodists across the state have already made and sent to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, near Springfield, Ill., tens-of-thousands of personal hygiene kits for distribution in Haiti. Other United Methodists are preparing to work with UMCOR as volunteers to Haiti during the recovery. Classes in emergency response will be held March 20 at First United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Ind. and April 10 at New Life United Methodist Church near Mexico, Ind. United Methodists in northwest Indiana are partnering with the Children of Abraham relief agency to provide tents at $150 each to protect Haitians without homes during the rainy season which has begun.

Since the disaster, UMCOR has coordinated food distribution projects in Mellier and Petit-Goave, Haiti. The UMCOR plan includes emergency, recovery and rehabilitation work. The emergency phase stretches from the time of the earthquake through April. It addresses the immediate needs of access to food, clean water and sanitation, temporary shelter, and emotional and spiritual support.

During the recovery phase, which is expected to run through the first-year anniversary of the disaster, UMCOR will respond to needs for increasingly permanent homes, schools, clinics and churches, along with jobs and other concerns. The third phase, rehabilitation, will likely stretch through January 2015 and will offer assistance for physical reconstruction and economic development as well as rebuilding health, education and other systems.

Gifts to support UMCOR's relief efforts in Haiti can be made online by visiting Gifts can be given through any local United Methodist Church. For gifts by mail, please make checks payable to UMCOR and mail to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Please indicate Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325, on the memo line of your check.

A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

UMCOR’S Melissa Crutchfield conducts a needs assessment in Mellier, Haiti, following the earthquake.