With all of the counties in the UCC's Pennsylvania Southeast Conference moving to the "green" stage in their governor's plan for reopening, the churches are looking to the Conference for guidance. As they cautiously consider restarting their in-person services, they have been requesting the Conference's help in obtaining hand sanitizer.
Conference Minister Bill Worley and Conference Disaster Coordinator Karl Jones consulted to determine if the Conference could assist with this request. Jones accepted the task.
The first option explored was to request 300 cases of hand sanitizer through a donation offer that came through FEMA. That option was not successful, but Jones persevered.
He then learned that there were 50-gallon drums of hand sanitizer available through another donation being managed by FEMA. Jones and the Conference staff talked about asking for some drums.
While processing how they would transfer sanitizer from 50-gallon drums to more manageable containers, Jones discovered that one of the Conference’s PA VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) partners, MDR Disaster Relief, had acquired a shipment of barrels.
In consultation with the MDR Disaster Relief, President Joe Ryan and the Conference staff, a plan was developed where MDR Disaster Relief volunteers would pump the sanitizer into one gallon jugs. MDR Disaster Relief would deliver more than 270 gallons to the Conference office, and from there the jugs would be distributed to the churches that had requested them.
On June 13, conference staff and volunteers delivered the sanitizer to pick-up points in each Association.
Of the Conference's 165 congregations, 62 requested between one to four gallons each. All received what they asked for, with about 20 gallons left over for later distribution.
Above: Preparing to unload the sanitizer. From left to right: MDR vice-president Tim Lehman and his service dog; Jack Creswell, St. Paul's UCC, Fleetwood; Sylvia Cruz and Darryl Cruz, Trinity UCC, Telford; MDR President Joe Ryan; Cathy Jones, St. Mark's UCC, Cressona, and PSEC CDC Karl Jones.
Story by Karl Jones. Photos by Sue Creswell, PSEC Executive Assistant to the Conference Minister