Skip links

UMCOR Work Teams in the COVID Era (Disaster Response)

Late in 2020, a woman contacted Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) seeking assistance in repairing a leaky roof before the winter rains set in. The request was shared among partner agencies and nonprofits.

How does an United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Early Response Team deal with an emergency repair and follow the pandemic guidelines for safety?

An initial visit by some of the team members with roofing experience determined that the roof issues could be repaired, not requiring a complete replacement of the existing roof. It was determined that the required work could be completed outside meeting the protocols for social distancing and the wearing of masks.

A collaboration between a partner VOAD organization (Salvation Army) and the California-Pacific UMCOR team generated the funding of materials to do the work. However, some of the needed materials were not available within a hundred-mile radius! The tighter stay-at-home orders mandated further delays. Luckily, the usual weather patterns for December and January were also delayed, allowing the damaged roof escape rain events until mid-January.

Yet, reading the weather forecasts as the patterns changed pushed the urgency to get the repairs done. With imminent storms predicted to drop as much as 3 inches of rain, repairs were deemed essential. So, a workday was quickly scheduled for Saturday, January 23, even as the forecast called for a chance of rain that day.

A team of six individuals from three different Cal-Pac United Methodist churches worked together in a light drizzle to complete the roof repairs. Masks were worn by all and safe distancing was maintained as much as possible throughout the day to minimize any possible inadvertent virus transmission. Work completed included adding a new ridge and sealing all vents on the upper floor, installing roll roofing on the lower level valley area, and sealing around flashings and along sidewalls.

Many thanks to team leader Karl Ports (Linda Vista UMC), Kayleen Ports and Bryant Shimizu (Linda Vista UMC), Sheldon Haase (Glendale UMC), Dorman Jung and Gilman Jung (Shepherd of the Hills UMC of Monterey Park); Nick Nguyen (Salvation Army) for purchasing most of the materials.

And a very grateful homeowner is now ready for the rains to come!

The Disaster Response Task Force (DRTF) is an active Cal-Pac Conference ministry. To learn more about United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) and the DRTF, visit

For questions or to get involved, please contact the Cal-Pac Disaster Response Coordinator, Judy Lewis, at or 909.731.8248.