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How do relief kits help in disasters?

Most of us know basic hygiene practices. It’s something taught early in elementary school. Things like washing your hands and brushing your teeth are so routine that you probably do them without thinking.

But for people living through a disaster, hygiene becomes crucial. 

In September 2017, flash floods surged into the house where Osa Jonmarits and his family had been sleeping moments before. Hurricane Irma’s howling winds and driving rain were beating down on their mountain community of La Chapelle, Haiti.

relief kits

Osa Jonmarits received a relief kit along with water purification tablets and a comforter after his home and property were damaged by flooding from Hurricane Irma. (MCC photo/Annalee Giesbrecht)

Placing their two smallest children on their shoulders, Osa and his wife waded with their two other children through waist-deep floodwaters and pouring rain as they scrambled to find a safer location. The flood swept away their possessions, leaving the walls of their home waterlogged and crumbling.

As the Jonmarits family works to rebuild their lives, it’s important that they don’t get sick. Floodwaters can easily become contaminated by overflowing latrines, creating a risk for waterborne diseases like cholera.

That’s where relief kits make a difference. Each bucket contains basic hygiene items like soap, towels and toothbrushes for a family of four. After the hurricane Osa and his family received an MCC relief kit, filling an immediate need for supplies to help them stay healthy. 

Buckets of Thanks

Buckets of Thanks is a campaign that gives people the opportunity to show their gratitude by packing relief kits this Thanksgiving season. Participants are encouraged to collect the items and pack their buckets of thanks with their family, church or community group. MCC offices will receive the buckets from October 7-14, 2019, where they’ll be sent to families in need all across the globe. To pack a relief kit, read the instructions here. You can bring your completed bucket to any one of our drop-off locations.

Header Photo: MCC relief kits are unloaded in the community of Bingo, Haiti. (MCC photo/Annalee Giesbrecht)

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  • MCC Centennial

    MCC is a global, non-profit organization that strives to share God’s love and compassion through relief, development and peacebuilding.


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