EMC Charities    "Rebuilding Homes and Lives for Disaster Victims"
Where EMC Began

Several core members of the EMC team made trips to help residents of Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina during the Spring and Summer of 2006.   They traveled to cities along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi as part of mission teams from Hilltop UMC in Salt Lake City, UT.  It was a tremendously gratifying experience that continued to call them back to the region and redouble their efforts.  In the fall of 2006, EMC founders spent several weeks working at the home of one elderly Gulfport, MS resident, Ernie Mae Craft.  Ernie Mae had absolutely no money but was blessed with a boundless supply of hope.  It quickly became apparent that Ernie Mae needed more help than was available through traditional relief channels.  While she was able to get the roof and walls on her house, many of her basic needs such as heat, plumbing and electric were missing from the solution.  With limited resources available, the prospects for Ernie Mae did not look good.  It was soon realized that without some "extra effort," Ernie Mae’s situation probably would not change. 

After discussing her dilemma, the men and women of now “EMC Charities” decided to take her project themselves.  They made a commitment to do "whatever it took" to get her situation moved off "dead center" with a goal of putting Ernie Mae's home (and life) back together in time for her to serve her family a Christmas dinner in a real "home."  "Ernie Mae's Christmas" seemed the natural name for the December 2006 project.

From there, the project took off.  In less than 60 days the young team raised over $23,000 and recruited a motivated and enthusiastic team of volunteers to do the work.  These weren't all skilled carpenters; most were just ordinary people willing to give up some holiday time with their loved ones so someone they didn't even know could have some with theirs.  They installed cabinets and flooring, plumbing and heating, a water heater and shower, doors and sheetrock.  They cleaned and painted, and even managed to find a wreath and a Christmas tree!  Cards, prayers, furniture and appliances, towels and even a hand-made quilt showed up for Ernie Mae!  It was gratifying and yet humbling to see so many people from all over the country open their hearts to help one elderly lady put her life back together.

In this first example, the men and women of now EMC realized the value of our organization and the unique contribution they could make in disaster recovery efforts.  Having no desire to duplicate the efforts of other agencies, they looked for areas where they could make a unique impact—find the projects that were “too tough” (for various reasons) for other relief agencies to complete, or where means have been exhausted and think of creative ways to “make things happen.”   

Unfortunately, you don’t have to look to far to find those in need who fit this category, so to further the effort, the original team formed a non-profit corporation to support further activities.  Naming the organization "Ernie Mae's Christmas Charities" just seemed like the perfect choice. 

The spirit of EMC Charities resonates in the amazing volunteers who keep returning to work year after year.  Words don't do it justice - we hope you'll step out with us on our next project and see for yourself.

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