UMCOR Team in Salt Lake City: A Virtual Travelog

A team of First Church UMCOR members traveled to UMCOR West Depot in Salt Lake City.

Follow their journey below:


Saturday, June 20


Kira, Michaela and Kay with the sewing room output!

As the team returns to Portland (for those flying that was Saturday afternoon; for those driving it will be Sunday afternoon!), we wanted to share a few last figures for our church family.First of all – in what we view as somewhat of a “wonder,” we packed exactly 1,000 birthing kits; sewed four baby jackets, 26 baby washclothes and 28 diapers! We also followed a UMCOR West “tradition” and left a mural on a wall inside the depot. We’re already making plans for a return trip in June, 2016 – start thinking about joining us.



Thursday, June 18

Wednesday afternoon, the UMCOR West UMVIM Team said “goodbye” to two of our members as Nelson and Lee Cooper met up with their parents for a family road trip to the Grand Canyon.  We then enjoyed a relaxing dinner and a visit to the stunning Salt Lake City Library before making an early night of it.

Anne and Tom Kayser sealing box of birthing kits.

On Thursday, we packed enough additional birthing kits to complete a pallet (28 boxes of 24 kits each!) before lunch, then transferred to the sewing room (which had the advantage of air conditioning in the 99 degree heat!) for the afternoon.  Eleven diapers, eight washcloths and three baby jackets was the output from the four seamstresses at work, while the non-sewers helped with cutting and quality control on finished items.
At this writing, we’re still debating whether or not to walk to Temple Square (about a half mile walk) to view the beautiful flowers and possibly attend a rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  The “pros” are obvious – the “cons” are the heat!


Michaela Kurtz and Kira Pierce sew diapers for layette kits.

Tuesday, June 16


From left: Maika, Rev. Brian Diggs, Kira Pierce, Michaela Kurtz, Lee Cooper, Nelson Cooper, Megan Jones – with screen printing machine that is creating their UMCOR West t-shirts

We’re now halfway through our week at the UMCOR West Depot in Salt Lake City. Five of us (Anne, Kay, Nelson, Lee and Tom) arrived via car at about 7 pm Sunday night after spending Saturday night in Boise and attending church services at Cathedral of the Rockies Sunday morning. Another three (Dee, Michaela and Kira) flew in on Sunday, arriving a short time later. And, due to a late flight and a missed connection, Megan arrived in Salt Lake City on Monday afternoon, after spending the night in Dallas!

Our project for the week has been birthing kits so, after an orientation tour of the Depot (2,200 square feet in three warehouses), and an explanation of what UMCOR is and what it does by Depot Manager Rev. Brian Diggs, the team set to work.

Maika, Brian’s “right hand” man at the Depot, gave us instructions (which those who participated in the UMW Birthing Kit project a couple of years ago may remember!), and we spent the rest of Monday and all of Tuesday assembling kits – 600 to date!

Today, our “hump” day, we did something a bit different – we spent the morning at the Methodist’s Welfare Square, helping out in their warehouse (pictured above, part of the ecumenical focus of UMCOR) and having a tour. We spent our free afternoon touring the Natural History Museum of Salt Lake City.


From Left: Kira Pierce, Kay Ward, Megan Jones, Lee Cooper, Dee Poujade, Michaela Kurtz, Nelson Cooper, Tom Kayser, Anne Kayser

We’re enjoying the hospitality of the Episcopal Church Center, and have enjoyed some wonderful meals (thanks to Kay Ward, who had everything planned before we even left Portland!), experienced a desert thunderstorm and played in a water park one day after work.

Two more full days of work await us before heading back to Portland on Saturday – hopefully you’ll see some of us in church on Sunday! And look for a forum on the trip sometime this fall.

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