Together the groups assembled and shipped 1,256 kits for use by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
by Mark Koenig, Administrative Services Group | Special to Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — It began, as so much seems to begin these days, with an email.
“The mission committee of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery is ready to again collect hygiene kits for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance,” wrote Ruth Welch, coordinator of the project for the presbytery. “We hope the Presbyterian Center will join in collecting, sorting, and assembling these kits.”
The decision was quickly made to partner with the presbytery and plans went into motion to encourage participation by colleagues at the Presbyterian Center and who work for PC(USA) agencies and entities in other locations. Key to this effort was Maha Kolko, who had just started work as project manager for Community Outreach and Volunteerism in Human Resources, part of the Administrative Services Group. Kolko’s role includes helping colleagues respond to such volunteer opportunities.
Mid-Kentucky Presbytery has collected items for hygiene kits for several years. This year marked the first time since the onset of the pandemic that people would gather in person to sort and organize the items and to assemble the kits.
Flyers went up in the elevators at the Presbyterian Center. Emails encouraged participation, as did announcements on CenterNet, the national staff’s intranet site.
Colleagues responded. Some brought combs and soap, toothbrushes and towels, and other needed items to the Presbyterian Center and to the Presbyterian Distribution Service warehouse. Others made cash donations.
Volunteers from the Presbyterian Center, recruited by Kolko, delivered the donated items to Beulah Presbyterian Church in Louisville, where they were combined with items gathered from across the presbytery. Volunteers joined people from congregations in Mid-Kentucky Presbytery to sort and organize the items. Finally, on Saturday, volunteers joined people from the presbytery and other organizations to form an efficient assembly line to create the hygiene kits containing the collected items.
1,256! This year’s project resulted in 1,256 hygiene kits assembled and shipped to the Disaster Assistance Center warehouse at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. From Ferncliff, the kits will be shipped to places and situations in need around the world. In addition, more than 800 toothbrushes, over 500 nail clippers, some 400 washcloths, and an unknown number of combs will also be sent to Ferncliff. Staff and volunteers there will assemble these items into kits along with items collected in other places.
“It was wonderful to help my new colleagues at the Presbyterian Center partner with Mid-Kentucky Presbytery on this important project,” said Kolko. “We look forward to helping create more than 1,256 kits in 2024 when we join in responding to the invitation the Rev. Dr. John Odom [Mid-Kentucky’s general presbyter] made to those who gathered to assemble the kits: ‘Thank you! See you again next year.’”
Learn more about PDA’s hygiene kits as well as other needed kits here.
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