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Today was our last day at the Depot. The “sewing team” (Kay, Frey and Dee) took an early train out so they could get almost a full day in – the “packers” (Pat, Cal, Betty and Sarah) opted to tour the beautiful Episcopal Cathedral, located next door to the retreat center where we are staying, before coming to the Depot.
Cal treated his “wives” (we’ve been calling ourselves “Cal’s Gals”) to another yummy lunch at Victor’s, and we had a blessing of the baby gowns that the sewing team had been making (we made a total of 70!)
After an almost-full work day, Frey left us for an afternoon flight back to Portland, and the rest of us went to “Welfare Square,” the Mormon equivalent of the UMCOR depots – on a much larger scale! – for a tour of their many enterprises. That was very interesting.
Sarah suggested a drive to Park City (about 45 minutes away) for dinner, a trip we thoroughly enjoyed, both for the scenery and the fun of seeing Park City (for some it was the first time; others had only seen it covered in snow on previous ski trips!)
Tomorrow Pat and Cal fly on to Phoenix; the rest of us will be back in Portland and hope to see you all in church on Sunday!
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Three of our group enjoy taking the Metro (like the MAX) to the depot, and 4 of us get there in Sarah’s van, starting our “work” about 9am. Three go to work in the sewing room, making nightgowns and flannel diapers while three inspect layette kits which church groups bring or send.
This is necessary so that each kit has the exact number of items in it: a dozen diapers, 2 baby blankets, 2 nighties, 2 “onesies”, 2 wash clothes, a sweater, and 2 diaper pins. Then Cal fits 7 kits in each shipping box, tapes them shut, and stacks 28 boxes in each pallet.
At noon we walked over to nearby “Victor’s Tire Shop” which has added a lunch room where good wholesome inexpensive Mexican lunches are served. It was a pleasant day to sit outside and eat at a picnic table.
We finish working at 4:00 pm and head back to our “home” at the Episcopal Church Center. Tonight after going out to dinner we’ll go to the Mormon Tabernacle to hear their famous Choir rehearse.
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Today was our half day “vacation” from the Depot – although, watching us at work this morning you wouldn’t have known it! Sarah, Betty, Pat and Cal kept filling boxes of layette kits – we’ll probably have another “pallet blessing” tomorrow. And Kay, Frey and Dee turned out another 14 baby gowns from the sewing room, some of which were immediately snatched up for inclusion in the layette kits! We’re coming home with LOTS of ideas on how our FUMC friends can continue to support UMCOR and the important work they do.
Our first stop after leaving the Depot was the local Methodist church (First UMC of Salt Lake City – the same nice folks who cooked lunch for us yesterday!) The historical building was built in the early 1900s and has beautiful stained glass, as well as an impressive mosaic mural in the sanctuary. A quick stop at “home” for lunch and we were off to the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island, the largest island in the lake.
Pat, Sarah and Cal opted to visit the visitor center on the island and to try their luck at spotting the island’s population of antelope and bison, while Kay, Frey, Betty and Dee headed off on a 2.7 mile hike on the Lakeside trail, around “Bison Point.” We firmly believe that God was putting us on that trail today. About 2 miles into the hike, Betty, who was leading the group, met a young woman in need of help. We won’t share the details here, but, as one who was present, I can concur with the woman (Linda), who said that Betty was here “angel” on that path. And I will ask everyone reading this to please hold Linda in your prayers!!
Antelope Island lived up to its promises – it was a beautiful spot and we all saw antelope and bison, as well as numerous other birds and animals. And, finally, the weather was PERFECT!!
We ended our day with a lovely dinner at Cedars of Lebanon, which served the cuisine of both Lebanon and Morocco in a “casbah” type setting! Wonderful!!
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Remember yesterday’s temperature of 108? Today it was 53, windy, and overcast, and we all shivered in shorts and sans sweaters.
Working at the UMCOR Depot really makes one appreciate its efficiency and focus on mission. The Depot (actually 3 spaces combined for a total of 22,000 sq. ft.) stores relief supplies nicely on new, partially funded shelving in orderly banks (named, of course, Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, Sarah, Deborah, et al.) The supplies are moved on a donated forklift. We had our orientation around an elegant conference table rescued from a recently defunct business. Ditto for most of the office and break area furnishings. The warehouse manager, Brian, reminded us that all administrative costs supporting UMCOR’s gathering, assembling, and shipping of these relief kits are covered by the One Great Hour of Sharing’s annual appeal and that the kits are distributed based solely on need and logistic considerations: not religious, ethnic, political factors. Brian mentioned that one of their latest shipments was layette kits to Somalia.
We are the only team working here this week, and we are split into two groups: Dee, Kay, and Frey in the sewing room making layette sleeping gowns, and the others, Pat and Cal, Betty, and Sarah re-checking and packing layette kits to be ready for shipment. Your scribe worked at the assembly table for a short time Monday morning and was quite impressed with the quality of the items in the kits: standard brand named pieces, handmade items showing both creativity and practicality. About mid-afternoon today we gathered at the work table to celebrate finishing a pallet (that’s 28 boxes of 7 kits each, or enough to lift the spirits of 196 families) by reciting the Pallet Prayer and joining in an all-hand “drum” roll (the drum being the boxes on the pallet)
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The Brockmans flew in this morning and were picked up at the airport by Sarah and Betty. The rest of the group started work at the Depot at 9 am. A typical work day ends at 4 p.m. We unloaded the receiving blankets, baby sweaters, layette kits and supplies that we collected in Portland and transported to Salt Lake in Sarah’s van. We also turned in $250 from the sale of shares, and $350 donated by team members. This money will be used by the Depot to purchase kit components in bulk.
We met with Rev. Brian Digg, the Depot director, for a tour of the warehouse. He discussed the history of the Depot and the history of UMCOR (more details in future blogs). Our team of seven split into two work groups, one working in the warehouse and the other in the sewing room. Further details will follow in a future post.
The temperature gauge in the car at 4 pm was 108! Tomorrow promises to be cooler!!
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After a “memorable” breakfast at Wingers in Mountain Home, Idaho, we resumed our travel to Salt Lake City. We knew we were in a semi-desert area when, shortly, we saw a small herd of prong-horned antelope not far from the freeway. The day was getting hotter and hotter – it was 96 when we drove into Salt Lake City at 3 pm!
Our first impression upon arrival in Salt Lake City was a quick glimpse of the lake, the rugged mountains to the east, still covered with snow, and the many impressive buildings, set along broad streets. Sarah drove us to the Episcopal Church Center of Utah (Wasatch Retreat and Conference Center) which was to be our home away from home for the next week, but they were not ready for us until 5 pm.
This gave us some time to drive around a bit in the heart of the city and to get some provisions at Costco before going out to the airport to meet Frey. After settling into our comfortable and beautifully appointed accommodations at the Center, we set off on foot to find dinner and take a leisurely walking tour of Temple Square. We dined outside in perfect weather at a new Cheesecake Factory in the new City Creek Shopping Center, just two blocks from where we are staying.
Following dinner, we set off for Temple Square, only a few blocks away. The gardens of flowers are spectacular and everywhere along with beautiful statues, fountains and reflecting pools. We strolled around the Temple, went into the Tabernacle and LDS Assembly Hall and walked by the Genealogical Society of Utah building, as well as Bringham Young’s home and several other historical buildings. Finally, having tired ourselves out completely, we stopped being tourists and returned to our lovely temporary home, ready for bed and looking forward to tomorrow and our first day at UMCOR West.
The UMVIM trip to the UMCOR West Supply Depot in Salt Lake City began at about 9 am on Saturday in front of Dee’s condo. Sarah loaded Dee, Betty and Kay and their various assorted luggage into her commodious and comfortable van. We also are transporting 50 hand-knitted baby sweaters (from Dora), 48 receiving blankets (from Tabitha Circle, UMW, cloth diapers and other supplies for the layette kits we will be packaging at the Depot.
The road trip was not without its pleasures, as we stopped at the Mary Hill Museum and got to see the newly opened glass wing and viewing platform. While there, Betty and Kay sounded off the alarm by pointing to the French courtier miniatures. The guard was very understanding!
The sky got bigger and bluer as we traveled East; the landscape changed dramatically. We had no end of good conversation and laughter as we traveled 400 miles to Mountain Home, Idaho. After a good night’s sleep in the Best Western here, we head to Salt Lake City tomorrow. There, we’ll pick up Frey at the airport and go to our lodging at the Episcopal Retreat Center. Pat and Cal will joint us on Monday, after which we will all travel (in our mandatory closed-toed shoes!) to the Depot for our first full day of work
Watch this spots for posts (and photos) from the First UMC UMVIM team to the UMCOR West Supply Depot in Salt Lake City. Four team members leave Saturday morning for the drive to Salt Lake (stopping overnight somewhere in Idaho!), while the remaining team members will arrive via air on Sunday and Monday.
We will begin working in the supply depot on Monday and spent a week packaging and checking emergency supplies, as well as whatever else we are asked to do. We plan to post daily, with photos, so church members can follow our progress on the web.
The United Methodist Volunteer in Mission (UMVIM) team to UMCOR West will meet after church on Sunday, April 15, for a team meeting to discuss logistics of the trip. Everyone who is registered is asked to please attend this meeting.
A limited number of vacancies remain on the team – anyone who is interested is asked to complete the registration form (available in the church office) and return it with a $100 deposit by April 15.
Author: First Church Published: January 23rd, 2012
First United Methodist of Portland is sending a Volunteer In Mission team to UMCOR West (Salt Lake City) June 3-9, and there’s still room to sign up if you’d like to go!
Team members will work in the Supply Depot, packaging layette, health and sewing kits, and will also have the opportunity to visit some of Salt Lake City’s cultural attractions, including the possibility of attending a rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
There will be an option for folks to car pool to Salt Lake City (with an overnight stay in Idaho) or they can fly.
The cost of the trip is approximately $600, which includes transportation, lodging at the Episcopal Retreat Center, most meals (prepared cooperatively at the retreat center and local restaurants), insurance and fees to the Supply Depot.
Application forms are available at the church office.