Student group sends bucket-fulls of flood relief to hurricane survivors


Ben Wells

United Methodist Students members and Marshall University sophomores (from left to right) Kayleigh Terrel, Jennifer Gerst and Betsy Horton mark up items and hammer down lids on flood buckets to be sent to survivors of Harvey and Irma hurricanes.

Hunter Ellis, Reporter

United Methodist Students prepared flood buckets to help with disaster relief across the nation Saturday as their first Service Saturday of the semester.

United Methodist Students does a Service Saturday once a month where they go out into the community and partake in a service project to help others.

For this month, the group processed 144 buckets in about five hours.

“With everything going on in Texas, and Irma about to hit Florida, we wanted to do something more than just send money,” Ben Wells, campus minister for United Methodist Students, said.

The students who helped put together flood buckets did so at New Vision Depot, a disaster relief hub that is part of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

“The more we can check, the more that can be ready to be sent out, the more people we’re helping,” said Betsy Horton, sophomore exercise science major and member of United Methodist Students. “We’re helping them indirectly even if we may not be able to go to Texas and Florida to help them.”

A flood bucket is a five-gallon bucket that includes items needed to clean up a house when a disaster hits, including brushes, sponges, gloves, clothes lines, cleaning supplies and other items.

“People get this list and they collect these items from the store and then they send the buckets to the warehouse, but notoriously a lot of the buckets that come in aren’t quite done right,” Wells said. “There’s a formula to it that’s been crafted overtime of what works and what doesn’t. Often a lot of the items on the list get overlooked or switched out for a similar item.”

The group went through buckets that have been collected and made sure they were properly prepared. They emptied buckets and sorted through the items by removing items not needed and adding missing items.

“If we need to fix it, we fix it, repack them properly, seal them up and then they get stacked on palettes and very soon will get loaded on a truck and go wherever they’re needed,” Wells said.

United Methodist Students meets at 8 p.m. every Thursday in the Campus Christian Center and welcome all students regardless of denomination or religious beliefs.

Each week, the group eats a meal together and does an interactive sermon.

“We provide a family-like community environment where students can explore their faith, ask questions, grow in their faith and get a chance to live it out as well as learning what that means,” Wells said.

United Methodist Students is a campus ministry funded and supported by the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Hunter Ellis can be contacted at [email protected]