In the Fall of 2021 during a Zoom meeting of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Western Jurisdiction Coordinators, there was discussion of the Toiletry Kit Ministry that is taking place in the California-Pacific Conference. The Toiletry Kit Ministry was created to help with the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. Louise Kienzle, UMVIM Coordinator for the Oregon/Idaho Conference asked how they might be of some help. A list of the toiletry kit items was sent to her.
Joseph UMC in Joseph, Oregon, was looking for a project that could help with asylum seekers in Southern California and Mexico. Louise provided them with the list and their church community created 200 toiletry kits. The next step was how to get the kits at no cost to the Cal-Pac Conference. By coordinating with Sue Harriss, Cal-Pac Disaster Response Task Force Member, it was arranged that a congregant from Joseph UMC would drive the boxes as far as Ventura, CA. The pastors at First UMC Ventura, Rev. Matt & Erin McPhee, were contacted and were more than willing to provide temporary storage for the boxes of toiletry kits. Rev. Joel Hortiales, Cal-Pac Border Ministries Director, who lives near Ventura was happy to pick up the boxes and transport them to Tijuana, Mexico. Rev. Hortiales works extensively with the Mexican Methodist Churches in Mexico. Mexican Methodist Churches in Tijuana have provided feeding and shower stations to provide some help to the thousands of people of many nationalities seeking asylum in the United States.
None of this effort to get the toiletry kits to their destination could have occurred without the cooperation and willingness to be part of something bigger than the local church. The beauty of being connected is that we are much stronger together and can achieve so much more.
To give to the Cal-Pac Disaster Response and/or Border Ministries fund, visit calpacumc.org/donate.