Join the Bucket Brigade …

… Or maybe the Health Squad is more your speed!

Natural disasters have occurred nonstop the last few months—hurricanes, earthquakes and massive fires have dominated the news.

“People want to help, but the need is so overwhelming,” said Chuck Griffin, pastor of Luminary United Methodist Church. “For many of us, the answer is to send supplies to established relief operations, making it easier for the experts to do their jobs. At Luminary, we decided our role is to make participation in this supply effort simple for our neighbors.”

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On the left, an example of a cleaning kit or “flood bucket”; on the right, a standard hygiene kit. Both are distributed widely in disaster zones.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, Luminary will make it possible for anyone to assemble cleanup kits or hygiene kits for use at disaster sites. Enough materials to complete 100 cleanup kits, sometimes called “flood buckets,” and 100 hygiene kits will be available in the church parking lot. The assembled kits will be delivered to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the UMC’s global disaster relief arm.

“We also are praying this will turn into an ongoing effort,” Griffin said. “We have fronted the money to buy the materials for the first set of kits. If people buy and assemble what we’ve gathered thus far, we’ll take that money and buy the materials for more relief kits, and have another assembly day.”

Rick and Kathi Matthews have headed the preparations for the Oct. 21 relief effort, and they say the bulk buying of materials for the kits has reduced costs as much as 20 percent.

The cleaning kits are five-gallon buckets filled with laundry detergent, soaps, liquid cleaners, air freshener, insect repellent, brushes, sponges, dust masks, gloves, trash bags and other critical post-disaster items. A donation of $50 will fill one bucket with the needed items, and church volunteers will be present to help people understand how to assemble a kit so it can be properly sealed.

The hygiene kits supply people in a disaster area with a hand towel, washcloth, dressing comb, nail clippers, bath soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and Band-Aids. A donation of $7 will make one hygiene kit, and again, church volunteers will be present to help with assembly.

“UMCOR provides a specific list of contents for both kits, with sizes and weights specified,” Kathi Matthews said. “The bulk purchases and group assembly ensure victims and relief workers get exactly what they need.”

Luminary UMC is located at 3401 River Road in Ten Mile, Tenn., about a mile north of Blue Springs Marina. Call (865) 376-7040 for more information.