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|Headquarters||Atlanta, Georgia, US|
|General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church|
|Methodist Committee for Overseas Relief|
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian aid and development organization of the United Methodist Church (UMC). UMCOR is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operated under the auspices of the General Board of Global Ministries. One hundred percent of donations are directed to an earmarked project or relief effort. Administrative expenses are funded by an annual offering collected by United Methodist churches on UMCOR Sunday.
UMCOR works through programs that address hunger, poverty, sustainable agriculture, international and domestic emergencies, refugee and immigrant concerns, global health issues, and transitional development. These programs are categorized into three major areas: Humanitarian Relief / Disaster Response, Sustainable Development and Global Health (in collaboration with UM Global Ministries).
In response to World War II's devastating effects around the world the 1940 General Conference of the Methodist Church (USA) passed a resolution to form a relief agency. Originally named the Methodist Committee for Overseas Relief (MCOR), it was begun as a temporary organization. MCOR was to "respond to the vast needs of human suffering worldwide" by analyzing the most critical needs in the world and relaying these needs to local churches who would in turn provide monetary assistance. From the outset, the agency promoted ecumenical partnership with other denominational relief efforts.
At the 1972 General Conference the name was changed to UMCOR and was legislated as a permanent entity under the auspices of the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). As UMCOR grew, the committee began to see the need to streamline its outreach efforts. The five areas of relief were created to encourage a more efficient distribution of aid.
When UMCOR was first formed, the mission was, "to provide relief in disaster areas, aiding refugees and confronting the challenge of world hunger and poverty."[ citation needed ] Today the agency's mission has changed very little. According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline , UMCOR's current responsibility is "To provide immediate relief of acute human need and to respond to the suffering of persons in the world caused by natural, ecological, political turmoil, and civil disaster."[ citation needed ]
Unlike most relief organizations, UMCOR was designed so that 100 percent of all donations go directly to the intended projects. This goal was achieved by instituting the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) donation. The OGHS is an annual collection taken at United Methodist churches around the world in March. UMCOR receives enough support through OGHS each year to cover all overhead, administrative, and operation costs for the coming year. Excess funds received from OGHS are directed to UMCOR's most urgent or least funded projects. Every dollar received in response to emergency appeals is spent on direct relief.
In an effort to streamline relief efforts around the world UMCOR has developed five core areas of relief: Hunger, Health, Refugees, Emergencies, and Relief Supplies. Each area of relief consists of many projects in different distressed areas of the world.
Starvation and poverty remain among the largest humanitarian problems in the world. As an aid organization, UMCOR addresses these problems through their World Hunger/Poverty program. This program's main emphasis lies in supplying food to hungry people worldwide. However, the committee believes that food distribution is not the complete answer to the hunger problem.
Alongside supplying food, UMCOR helps poor countries and regions develop their own food stocks. UMCOR provides seeds, tools, and training to advance agricultural efforts. It also collaborates with the National and World Councils of Churches, Heifer Project International, and Habitat for Humanity. In addition to these efforts, UMCOR is active in educating the public on political issues like trade policies, international debt, and political sanctions which promote worldwide hunger and poverty.
UMCOR's Hunger actions include Food Security in Southern Africa which helped to develop farming techniques in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Water of Life which built wells in Afghanistan, and Filling in the Gaps in Haiti which provides school lunches for over 16,800 children in Haiti. UMCOR also supports National Hunger Awareness Day (June 3), World Food Day (October 16), and World Fair Trade Day (May 8).
The second core area of relief that UMCOR provides is Health. UMCOR's health initiative focuses on providing primary health care support, building capacity of health care institutions, offering health education and training, promoting health care, distributing medication, supplies, and equipment, and supporting maternal and pediatric health care.
One of UMCOR's tools in the fight against disease is the Health Kit. Health Kits consist of a hand towel, a washcloth, a comb, a nail file or fingernail clippers, a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and six adhesive bandages. These health kits are sent to people who cannot acquire these supplies due to poverty, natural disaster, or other reasons. UMCOR encourages local churches and other groups to compile Health Kits to donate to the agency's mission. UMCOR believes that by individuals assembling these Health Kits that the donator will better understand the need for providing this type of aid.
Current projects and programs that UMCOR undertakes include HIV/AIDS Programs, Landmine Removal, Hospital Revitalization, and Comprehensive Community-Based Health Primary Care (CCPHC) Programs.
In this core area, UMCOR provides relief to peoples displaced from their homes due to violence, oppression, and natural disaster. Refugees was one of the first and largest areas to which UMCOR provided relief when the committee was first formed. World War II had caused a great influx of refugees fleeing from the war and the rate never slowed down. Today most of UMCOR's Refugee aid is provided in El Salvador, Guatemala, Liberia, Mozambique, Cuba, Vietnam, and Eastern Europe.
UMCOR's Refugee aid consists of fulfilling the primary needs of the displaced peoples. Food, shelter, and medicine are among the first supplies distributed. UMCOR also realizes the long-term effects of displacement. After primary needs are filled the agency helps refugees by supporting settlement through finances and labor or aids in planning the return home. UMCOR also provides counseling to refugees after being displaced. Throughout the aid processes UMCOR teams with the National Council of the Churches of Christ (NCCC), Church World Service (CWS), and local ecumenical agencies.
Refugee core area programs include Justice for Our Neighbors, legal immigration counseling, and support of World Refugee Day (June 20). Most of UMCOR's Refugee projects are need based and cannot be converted to long-term projects.
UMCOR's goal in emergency response is to "provide relief and rehabilitation for the entire person – physical, social, and psychological- in a distress situation." The agency prepares for both immediate and long-term relief efforts after a disaster by stockpiling aid items and keeping a unit of trained "disaster response specialists" ready for immediate dispatch. UMCOR pays special attention to the emotional and psychological issues that result from a disaster. A program designed to supply pastor care to children is at the forefront of UMCOR's efforts in this area.
Most notably UMCOR has recently responded to hurricane disasters in the United States, the December 26, 2004, tsunami in South East Asia, earthquakes in Turkey and Pakistan, political upheaval in Kosovo, famines in Southern and Eastern Africa, and a volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. UMCOR also responds to many other smaller disasters which occur, on average, once or more a week.
In January 2010, UMCOR executive director Samuel W. Dixon Jr. died in the collapse of the Hotel Montana in Haiti. Dixon was part of a group of six UMCOR missionaries and relief specialists caught up in the massive earthquake. The delegation was making plans for improving medical services in Haiti. The minister Clinton C. Rabb also died in the collapse.
The final core area of UMCOR's relief efforts is known as Relief Supplies. This area is supplementary to the other four areas in that it receives and assembles various kits which are then directed to other core areas. For example, the Health Kits mentioned above are received, assembled, packaged, and then distributed under the Health core area. Relief Supplies encourages volunteer support in assembling and distributing the kits so that volunteers can become more connected to the actions of UMCOR.
Relief Supplies formulated six different kits that are sent around the world. Bedding Kits consist of two bed sheets, two pillow cases, and two pillows. Cleaning Buckets contain 17 different items to assist people in cleaning after a flood or hurricane. Health Kits, as described above, provide hygiene supplies to areas where basic sanitary items are unaffordable or unavailable. Layette kits are made of diapers, baby clothing, and blankets which are designed to meet the basic non-medical supplies needed directly after childbirth. School Kits are assembled with scissors, paper, a ruler, pencil sharpener, pencils, crayons and an eraser. They are designed to promote learning in areas where educational buildings and supplies are scarce or nonexistent. The final kit that Relief Supplies creates and distributes is the Sewing Kit. Sewing Kits provide recipients with three yards of fabric, scissors, needles, threads, and buttons. Sewing kits are intended to help people learn to create their own clothing instead of simply supplying garments. This kit also promotes cultural preservation by allowing recipients to sew clothing in their own cultural styles. Kit contents change periodically. Check the UMCOR website for the latest requirement/To facilitate rapid response and utilize volunteer workers, UMCOR operates two supply depots, the UMCOR Sager Brown depot in Baldwin, Louisiana and UMCOR Depot West in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. According to the WFP, it provides food assistance to an average of 91.4 million people in 83 countries each year. From its headquarters in Rome and from more than 80 country offices around the world, the WFP works to help people who cannot produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its executive committee.
Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OB) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization founded in the United States. Beginning in 1978, OBI has worked in more than 90 countries and every state. Implementing programs that provide disaster relief, medical aid, clean water, hunger relief, community development and orphan care, Operation Blessing is governed by a national board of directors.
CARE is a major international humanitarian agency delivering emergency relief and long-term international development projects. Founded in 1945, CARE is nonsectarian, impartial, and non-governmental. It is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organizations focused on fighting global poverty. In 2016, CARE reported working in 94 countries, supporting 962 poverty-fighting projects and humanitarian aid projects, and reaching over 80 million people and 256 million people indirectly.
Lutheran World Relief (LWR) is an international non-governmental organization that focuses on sustainable development projects and disaster relief and recovery. The organization was founded in 1945 to collect and send aid to people living in post-World War II Europe. Today, LWR helps communities living in extreme poverty adapt to the challenges that threaten their livelihoods and well-being, and responds to emergencies with a long-term view.
Latter-day Saint Charities is a branch of the welfare department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The organization's stated mission is to relieve suffering, to foster self-reliance for people of all nationalities and religions, and to provide opportunities for service.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Founded in 1943 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the agency provides assistance to 130 million people in more than 90 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Church World Service (CWS) was founded in 1946 and is a cooperative ministry of 37 Christian denominations and communions, providing sustainable self-help, development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance around the world. The CWS mission is to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice at the national and international level through collaboration with partners abroad and in the US.
Ellsworth Culver was an American humanitarian and aid worker, co-founder of Mercy Corps International. Throughout much of his career he was simultaneously molesting his own daughter. It is not known at this time if he has ever abused refugee children he worked with; a friend of his daughter alleges seeing nude photographs of refugee children in explicit positions, found in his desk drawer when the girls were teenagers.
World Concern is a Christian global relief and development organization operating in Africa, Southeast Asia and Haiti, with its headquarters located in Seattle, Washington. World Concern serves approximately 6 million people worldwide and has a staff of 877, with 846 of those being international and 31 based at headquarters.
Food for the Hungry is a Christian international relief, development, and advocacy organization with operations in more than 20 countries. Food for the Hungry was founded in 1971 by Dr. Larry Ward. Food for the Hungry's stated mission for long-term development is to graduate communities of extreme poverty within 10–15 years. The organization does this by going to some of the hardest places with an exit strategy, empowering local leaders and walking "together" with them, as they lead their communities into being thriving, self-sustainable places to live. The organization also works in disaster relief and humanitarian response, including working with the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) is a humanitarian agency engaged in community development, refugee resettlement, emergency relief, basic commodity shipments, volunteer placement and alternative trade.
IsraAID is an Israel-based non-governmental organization that responds to emergencies all over the world with targeted humanitarian help. This includes disaster relief, from search and rescue to rebuilding communities and schools, to providing aid packages, medical assistance, and post-psychotrauma care. IsraAID has also been involved in an increasing number of international development projects with focuses on agriculture, medicine, and mental health.
Episcopal Relief & Development is an international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church. It was established in 1940 as the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief. Episcopal Relief and Development works in approximately 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the U.S. and the Middle East. They build partnerships with local Episcopal and Anglican dioceses and related organizations based on need, capacity and available resources.
The humanitarian responses by non-governmental organizations to the 2010 Haiti earthquake included many organisations, such as international, religious, and regionally based NGOs, which immediately pledged support in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Besides a large multi-contingency contribution by national governments, NGOs contributed significantly to both on-the-ground rescue efforts and external solicitation of aid for the rescue efforts.
International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES) is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Noblesville, Indiana, United States that seeks to meet the physical and spiritual needs of suffering people around the world in the name of Jesus Christ. The organization is primarily funded by Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. Much of its relief effort is done through local churches and missionaries already in place in the countries needing assistance.
Emmanuel International Canada is a non-governmental, non-profit, evangelical Christian relief organization whose purpose is to strengthen and assist local churches in developing countries to holistically meet the social, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of their communities.
IMA World Health is an international, nonprofit health care service organization. The faith-based charity specializes in procuring and distributing medical supplies and services to underdeveloped nations. IMA's stated purpose is to "provide health care…without bias, to vulnerable and marginalized people in the developing world."
MAP International is a global Christian health and relief organization that partners with people living in conditions of poverty to save lives and develop healthier families and communities. Recognized for their 99% efficiency rating, they respond to the needs of those they serve by providing medicines, preventing disease and promoting health to create real hope and lasting change. Their mission is to advance the total health of people living in the world's poorest communities. They carry out that mission in the broad programmatic areas of community health development, disease prevention and eradication, relief and rehabilitation and global health advocacy.
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is an organizational unit within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that is charged by the President of the United States with directing and coordinating international United States government disaster assistance.
Chad currently suffers from widespread food insecurity. A majority of the population of Chad now suffers some form of malnutrition. 87% of its population lives below the poverty line. Because the country is arid, landlocked, and prone to droughts, many Chadians struggle to meet their daily nutritional needs. While international aid into the country has brought some relief, the situation in Chad remains severe due to broader famine in the Sahel region. The World Food Programme has declared a state of emergency in the region since early 2018, stating that, “...adding to the poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition which already affects [the nations of the Sahel] to varying degrees, drought, failed harvests and the high prices of staple foods have hastened the arrival of this year’s ‘lean season’ – the worst since 2014.” Malnutrition is high, especially among women and children, with a significant majority of all children in Chad suffering from some form of stunted growth or adverse health effects as a result. As such, health in Chad is greatly affected by lack of food. Food insecurity is a symptom of broader instability in Chad, which suffers from political, ethnic, and religious instability. These issues have contributed to long-term food insecurity in Chad.