By George James
South Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church; Hazel, KY
Our small group of United Methodist Men (UMM) delivered ten flood relief cleaning buckets to our Purchase Area District Office on Tuesday morning, January 5, 2016. In the big scheme of things, that number of buckets is barely even a dent in the number that will probably be needed. But considering the flooding close to our area, we wanted to at least do something and do it in a timely manner. What preceded our action?
I am President of our small rural church’s UMM. Our monthly meetings normally have five or six men present. If we have a significant project with some extra lead time, we often turn out 15 or more. Average age of our group is about 55 plus.
My regular work is as an air-ambulance pilot on 12 to 14 hour shifts, either day or night. Late on Wednesday night while I was at work I opened an email on my phone that our Pastor, Robert Baker, had forwarded from our District Superintendent, Sky McCracken. It indicated that there was a need for some flood relief assistance in our area as a result of the recent very heavy rains.
One of the things suggested was cleaning buckets, comprised of 16 items, with an approximate cost of $65.00 per bucket. My work schedule slowed me down a bit. But, by Saturday morning, after doing some phone calls and coordination with my core group of men, we had set a goal of filling and delivering ten buckets by the following Tuesday. On Sunday, during church announcement time, I made an appeal to our congregation for help with funding. In all we took in a bit over $800.
On Sunday afternoon and evening, I went to five different stores in Murray, KY and got 90% of the materials needed for the buckets, filling the back end of my Subaru. Overall, gathering these items was the hardest part. A fellow member met me at the church about 8pm and we unloaded all the stuff onto a couple of tables in our fellowship hall. We did not sort any of it that night, but another member and his wife came in Monday morning and sorted it into the 15 groups of items that were to go into the buckets; a big help.
On Monday, I was off duty from my regular job, so after doing some household work and errands, I went back to Murray and acquired the remaining 10% of items. I also printed up some content labels and some business card labels with a picture, a greeting, and the name of our church on them to place on the buckets.
Late Monday afternoon, two of us started filling the buckets. Before we got too far along, four others joined us and we got them all filled, sealed, and labeled in pretty short order. We took a few pictures, patted ourselves on the back, and thanked one another for each one’s help. As we were preparing to leave, our Pastor showed up to help too, but alas he had missed the real action. We teased him a bit, but we thanked him for coming with good intentions.
About mid-morning on Tuesday, two of us drove to our District Office to deliver the buckets. Two wonderful ladies that work there, Penny and Kim, helped us unload them into the designated area. They also expressed their appreciation and that of the DS for our good work to benefit others. All in all, it was a very satisfying and rewarding project for our small group of United Methodist Men.
Photos: courtesy George James
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