By SUSAN DRINNON
As Steve Phillips, president of Northwest Exterminating, was watching news reports of the horrors in Haiti after the massive earthquake in January, he knew he wanted to do something to help. His first thought was to go to the stricken nation with a team of employees from Northwest to do whatever they could.
As the days went by, Phillips realized the effort would take more time and planning than he ever imagined. He sought input from employees, asking for contacts or other suggestions of ways they could help.
Eventually, he connected with Rev. Joey Hatchell of Faith United Methodist Church in Smyrna. Hatchell shared what his congregation had been doing in the Dominican Republic in since 2003, in conjunction with UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Hatchell recommended Northwest employees collect health kits and layette kits as a way to be involved sooner rather than later. Mr. Phillips was all for it.
All 13 Northwest Exterminating service centers went to work assembling kits and collecting donations. Even their insurance carrier, Love, Douglas and Pope, joined in on the project. In just over a month the group assembled 736 kits and collected $1,163.
The kits were delivered to the North Georgia Disaster Response warehouse in Austell for shipment to Haiti. Members of Faith UMC assembled 79 additional kits and also donated $3,000 to UMCOR since the earthquake.
Phillips still hopes to send a team of employees to Haiti in the fall and is planning to send a team to the Gulf Coast to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita this summer in partnership with Rev. Hatchell, Faith UMC, UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission) and UMCOR.
This article recently ran in the North Georgia Advocate, the official print source of the North Georgia United MethodistConference. For more information about the North Georgia Advocate, or to subscribe, please visit www.ngumc.org/advocate orcall 678.533.1376.