Area churches pull together to help those helping with disaster relief

EARLVILLE – Sunday’s Walkathon to raise funds for a disaster relief Shower Trailer was a success. Area churches and people responded to the call to help complete the fundraising efforts for this very important project.

In March, the Action Team of the Earlville United Methodist Church (EUMC) was looking for ways we could serve God by helping others; we are rethinking church. What could a few people do with no special skills other than a passion to be Christ’s hands helping to change the world? On the UMC Mohawk District bulletin board we saw that St. Paul UMC of Oneida had taken on building a Shower Trailer to help volunteers serving in disaster relief areas. The Shower Trailer project had a $35,000 plus budget; St. Paul UMC has the skilled dedicated people, but they needed financial help. Many years ago the EUMC and Poolville UMC sponsored a successful walkathon to raise funds for kids to go to a Christian summer camp; so the Earlville Action team decided we would promote the Shower trailer project and foster healthy exercise.

A Shower Trailer is a 44 foot semi-trailer converted with 6 shower units, washer, dryer, and sinks built to be taken to disaster relief areas. Hurricane Katrina’s devastation helped open eyes to the need for shower facilities. Then when Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit close to home, some 42,000 homes were impacted; most home owners were without flood insurance and FEMA was doing far too little to restore lives. Volunteers from across the country are willing to pitch in by going to devastated areas and help clean up and rebuild, but often remote rural communities don’t have the facilities to allow the volunteers to shower after a long day of very dirty work. Churches open their doors to give volunteers a place to lie down to sleep, and meals for the stay, but they do not have shower facilities. After a day of dirty hard work a shower is what volunteers really want first before a good night’s sleep.

The Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church supported our efforts by helping to promote the initiative and securing radio spots on WBIX and having Big Frog 104 FM air live from the event. Area churches responded to EUMC’s promotion efforts to help raise funds. People from Earlville, Poolville, North Norwich, Hamilton, Sherburne, Morrisville and Oneida UMCs and Earlville Lighthouse Church all participated or help in many ways.

The weather changed from the dreary, cool, rainy first week of June to sunny, warm and humid for the walk. St. Paul UMC brought the beautiful Shower Trailer to the event for the public to tour and an opportunity to speak with project leader Dave Woodcock. Area businesses including Holden Disposal, Price Chopper, Sherburne Big M, Sherburne Service Pharmacy, and Gilligan’s sponsored food and refreshments for the event. About 30 walkers made the approximately four-mile walk from the Earlville United Methodist Church up and around Craine Lake and back. Our goal was to raise over $5,000 to pay outstanding bills for the Shower Trailer and one year’s maintenance costs. Over $4,000 was raised as of Sunday afternoon. Following the event the Shower Trailer headed to Middleburgh NY to be in service to volunteers serving flood victims along Schoharie Creek. For information on supporting the project go to or send your donations to Earlville UMC PO Box 67 Earlville NY 13332 marked “Shower Trailer.”

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