My eye-opening experience at Mission Central
August 23, 2019 / By MaryBeth Ingalls, Upper New York Volunteer Coordinator
I have been working as the Mission Volunteer Coordinator at the Mission Central HUB in Upper New York for a few months now and last week I was able to see Mission Central itself in Mechanicsburg, PA. Mission Central is in the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church. Mission Central’s mission is “Connecting God’s Resources with Human Need.” This is accomplished by following three areas of focus…Mission Outreach, Mission Education, and Disaster Response. They partner with over 180 different organizations and provide resources to groups who are doing humanitarian work locally, across the country, and around the world.
Mission Central stands ready to respond to all weather-related disasters or emergencies that occur. They are one of six warehouses that provide the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), an organization that provides disaster relief and humanitarian aid to over 80 countries worldwide, with all their needed resources used in disaster response efforts.
When Upper New York’s Mission Central HUB collects hundreds of cleaning kits, hygiene kits, or school kits, they go to Mission Central. Imagine the number of kits stored there considering Mission Central has nearly 40 additional HUBS sending UMCOR kits their way!
At the warehouse, it was amazing to see the number of cleaning buckets. The rows went on and on. During the tour, we learned that in one incident, just one disaster, can use up the whole warehouse. When UMCOR calls for relief buckets, they get shipped out from there to UMCOR warehouses. They get verified again and then shipped to the areas in need of relief. This is an ongoing need year-round. Not only for supplies, but volunteers.
Visiting Mission Central reaffirmed my calling to volunteer. I started doing cleaning kits and then my shoulders gave out so I couldn’t do them any longer. I was then moved to do school kits—when I did these kits, I had thoughts of when I was a little girl and got a new box of crayons, my eyes would get big and sparkle with the thoughts of all the colorful pictures I could create. I then did birthing kits—when I did these kits, I saw mothers holding their new child in their arms, their little head peeking out of a bright clean colorful blanket and my heart melted.
Marylou Buck from Ontario UMC was the mission leader to this trip. She said, “‘I want to go back,’ was heard from members who traveled to Mission Central. The work completed will benefit hundreds of individuals. The variety of jobs included verifying UMCOR materials of over 200 cleaning kits, 60 school kits, 200 birthing kits, and approximately six boxes of hygiene kits. Some team members sorted 25-30 boxes of Bibles and other books while others counted and banded 16 banana boxes full of contractor garbage bags. This was all accomplished by eight team members in two days. Everyone whether 13 or 76 years of age felt very rewarded by helping others.”
I highly encourage anyone who has a calling to volunteer to do so! There is no feeling better than being the hands of Jesus. I plan to volunteer again soon myself. If you are interested volunteering, whether it be helping to build ramps, assembling blessing bags, or more click here to learn about ongoing volunteer opportunities. This page is updated regularly whenever we hear of volunteer opportunities.