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United Methodists hit by hurricane share $4.6 million grant

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — United Methodist relief efforts for Hurricane Michael recovery efforts will get a boost from the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

A $4.6 million UMCOR grant for the Alabama-West Florida Conference will help launch and fund the first two years of a phased four-year recovery program in response to Hurricane Michael, which made landfall at the Florida Panhandle last October.

“Since the time Hurricane Michael made landfall the Alabama-West Florida Conference has served those in need along the panhandle of Florida,” said Bishop David Graves, head of the conference. “As we have been saying for months, this will be a long-term effort to which our conference is committed to for years to come. We are grateful to UMCOR for recognizing the extensive need along the coast.” reports since the hurricane struck the local United Methodist Conference has worked to determine the unmet needs in the affected areas. Grant funds will enable them to begin outreach to survivors who have been denied Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.

The conference plans to provide at least 375 households with disaster case management services and connect them with vital goods and services to help them achieve their recovery goals.

“In the midst of major devastation, the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Conference was a beacon of hope to local communities as its churches served as resource centers for those impacted by the tremendous storm,” said Roland Fernandes, executive director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. “UMCOR is proud to support their ongoing efforts to bring hope and recovery to those impacted by Hurricane Michael.”

In December 2018, the conference received a $628,768 grant from UMCOR to allow for three volunteer coordinator sites to be established, support staff to manage these sites, construction costs, and assessments for the next grant.

Hurricane Michael swept across a narrow band of the Florida panhandle on Oct. 12, leaving total destruction in some areas. Six of the 12 counties that are FEMA-eligible are in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, which has received additional support from UMCOR and the United Methodist connection. Alabama-West Florida also will receive a separate $180,000 UMCOR grant for church repair.

Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is the global humanitarian aid and development agency of The United Methodist Church.

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