Friday, March 20, 2015

MMDC–Thursday and Friday

On both Thursday and Friday Karen and Susan sewed more one-handled teacher bags for Haiti. The goal is to make 5,000. On Thursday there were 2 of us working all day and one person working half a day, and we completed 52 bags.

On Friday there were several of us sewing for part of the day—Susan and Karen, a local volunteer, and the inside coordinator. In addition, the gentleman who was running the serger can prepare 80 bags a day for hemming.

The tub of bags in the foreground have been serged along the top edge and then the handles and side seams are serged. We couldn't hem the tops and attach the handles fast enough to keep up with Greg. On Friday we only completed 49 bags.

Meanwhile in the desk making center, Carl and Jay completed quality control on the 9 desks made at Trinity UMC. Here Jay notes “mind the gap”.

Jay discovered a new jig that will be needed at Trinity to make sure the next batch of desks are drilled properly.

Carl and Jay built a couple more desks in the past 2 days. There are NO finished desks in the warehouse because they all were shipped this week to Central America.

Team Trinity will be building 12 more desks in Charles City with the pre-cut lumber loaded in Jay’s pickup on Friday afternoon.

Room had to be made for 12 boxes of birthing kits, school bags, teacher bags, and health kits which were requested by a church in Austin, MN, to take to Haiti. Jay will get them as far as Charles City and then their church will come to pick them up.

Brad was moving empty flood buckets which need to be washed out.

More medical equipment has arrived. This will go to Belize eventually.

The third warehouse is looking good. The concrete floor has been power washed after it was swept of dirt earlier this week.

The good news is that Trinity UMC in Charles City will be coming back to MMDC. The dorms were booked solid for 2016, so we selected the second week in June of 2017.

The accommodations in the dorm are quite comfortable. Volunteers pay only $15 a night for their lodging. They can prepare their own meals, and there is a comfortable living room and dining room for communal activities. We often had devotions at noon time. In the evenings we’d read and relax, usually making an early night of it after going out for supper.

The bedrooms have 2 bunk beds and 4 people could share each room. Usually only the bottom bunks are used, so we have signed up for 16 people to share the 8 rooms, but more people join us if they wanted to sleep in a top bunk.

The team members from Gladbrook and Cedar Falls spent most of the week working on Personal Dignity kits. In the past 2 days they assembled an entire pallet. That’s 28 boxes with 20 PDKs in each box for a total of 560. We are bringing 2 boxes back to Charles City to be distributed at Jordan River/Messiah Food Pantry.

For those of you who shared in our “virtual” journey via this blog, we hope you will be inspired to do good works for others by volunteering your time, talents, gifts, and service in the future. — Susan

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MMDC--Tuesday & Wednesday

Tuesday evening, which was St. Patrick’s Day, we went to a local pub in Chatham called Fat Willy’s. We heard there was a parade coming—it went the block from the corner to the pub! All 10 people! Anyway, Jay had to try the local Springfield signature sandwich called the Horseshoe. It has sourdough bread on the bottom, meat (hamburger or chicken or ham, you name it), another slice of bread, cheese rarebit sauce over all of that, and fries over the top. Supposedly the fries are the nails in the horseshoe.

On Tuesday evening Susan and Karen worked after supper on our UMW crafts for Easter. We made little felt bunny bags, which we’ll fill with candy. We also made little girls’ bracelets with Easter charms and colored beads.

On Wednesday Karen and Susan sewed school bags again. We had help for half a day and ended up
sewing the handles on and hemming the top of 54 bags.

Here Susan is turning a bag right-side out.

 Karen is attaching the handle. These are one-handled teacher bags for Haiti.

Meanwhile, Jay and Carl helped clean the floor of the new warehouse which is under construction. It sat in the open air all winter because the walls and roof didn’t go on until this week. With a couple from the Cedar Falls team they scooped the dirt in to piles, loaded them into a wheelbarrow, and hauled all of the dirt outside.

That was really hard work (resulting in blisters and sore backs), so this afternoon they went back to doing quality control on 3 more of the 9 desks made by Trinity UMC. After making sure that the desks go together properly and sit level, the desks are disassembled. Then Carl and Jay counted out the nuts and bolts for reassembly once they reach their final destination. Those go into zip bags and are kept with the pieces of the desks as they receive several coats of polyurethane.

The third warehouse is really taking shape. When we got here on Sunday, there was a basic wooden frame. Today the walls were completely closed in and the siding went on.

We never know what tasks we will be asked to do tomorrow. Those from Gladbrook and Cedar Falls who were assembling Personal Dignity Kits got their 500 completed today, and then they were asked to assemble 100 more. Tomorrow is their last day of work, but we will work on Friday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MMDC — #3 Big Shipment Day

This week we are working with 2 other churches from Iowa in Gladbrook and Cedar Falls. Originally, Trinity in Charles City had signed up for 16 people, but only 4 committed, so Jay Culter contacted other churches in NE Iowa. There are 3 from Gladbrook and 4 from Cedar Falls First UMC for a total of eleven who are staying on campus. In addition, each day there are volunteers from the greater Springfield, IL, area.

Here is the group: (row 1) Carolyn and Luba (Gladbrook), Susan and Karen (Charles City), Laurene, Lisa, and Bobbette from Cedar Falls, (row 2) Steve (Gladbrook), Chris (Cedar Falls), Carl and Jay (Charles City}.

Carl and Jay assembled 3 of the 9 the school desks made by members of Trinity UMC in Charles City. This is a quality control measure to make sure that everything was cut correctly. They screwed and bolted all of the desks together to make sure they were aligned properly—and with minor adjustments they were just perfect! (Guess what they’ll be doing tomorrow...)

Meanwhile Susan and Karen and Laurene worked ALL DAY assembling one-handled teacher school bags for Haiti. These were cut out and serged together at MMDC by other volunteers. The three of them hemmed the top, and then they attached and reinforced the handles. 

It gave them quite a sense of accomplishment when they counted up at the end of the day and discovered that they had completed 60.

Today is the day the big shipment to Central America was loaded into 3 semi-trailers. All of the alleyways in the first warehouse were full of supplies for this shipment. All of the staff and volunteers gathered and joined hands to “pray out” the load.

Warehouse worker and forklift operator Brad Walton explains that this is the largest single shipment ever from MMDC. It will go to South Com US Air Command in Norfolk, VA, and then will go on the USNS COMFORT. The ship will be at sea for several weeks. Items for Haiti (the last port of call) were loaded into the container first today (first on, last off). Two more trailers were loaded next, and almost everything on the floor of the warehouse was shipped out.

 Then Brad shooed everyone out of the ware house so that he could load the trailer with the forklift.

So we continue to work on Personal Dignity Kits. The other members of the team from Gladbrook and Cedar Falls are working on an order for 500 PDKs. They completed 264 today.

Stacked high on shelves in the warehouse remain flood cleaning buckets, ready for use when a call comes this spring. These will go to disasters within the United States because of their weight.

The second warehouse has donated sewing machines and medical equipment and wood for school desks. Bicycles are also repaired for use by pastors in other countries.

The work continues at MMDC on a third warehouse. Some of the Cedar Falls volunteers helped set bolts today for the doorways. 

The work of the Lord continues. There is an order for 5,000 school bags as well as the 500 PDKs. Two of the bins for one-handled school bags are empty. It’s strange to see the inventory list on the side of a bin at ZERO when it previously held 1,500.

If you are following our journey and would like to help, we will be sending more supplies to the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in June. Contact any of the Charles City volunteers: Jay and Karen Cutler & Carl and Susan Jacob. 

We will accept your financial donations, or we will provide you with patterns to sew hospital gowns, layette gowns, or receiving blankets, or you may join us at our next Stitching for Missions Day in April. UMCOR has lists of supplies that you may donate for school kits, health kits, birthing kits, layette kits, sewing kits, and cleaning buckets. Many hands make light work...