UMCOR Works Through Us to Help Blackfeet


14-foot snowdrift in the corral at BUMP

Bagging potatoes in Browning

Thanks to all who so quickly contributed to our collection of food and supplies for the recent emergency on the Blackfeet reservation.

Rev. Calvin Hill is pastor at the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish (BUMP) serving Browning, Babb, Heart Butte, and the entire Blackfeet reservation.  He and his wife Sheri have been working tirelessly to coordinate distribution of food and firewood to the people affected by heavy snow and drifting which closed off large parts of the reservation in February. As the Hills identified people’s needs, they communicated them to Rev. Dawn Skerrit, pastor of Columbia Falls UMC who is our conference’s disaster response coordinator. Pastor Skerritt assembled and coordinated teams of volunteers to help. Shown here are two members of the Browning church bagging potatoes while Pastor Hill and others (background) worked to distribute firewood. The food collected in Bozeman (and many other places) went to the Browning church annex for distribution – some on February 26th made it to Babb when the road was plowed through a quarter mile drift so that two fire department vehicles could get through.

An UMCOR grant of $10,000 purchased six semi-loads of logs which were cut and split by volunteers and distributed first to elders, then to others in need. 

The 14′ high snow drift shown was at the BUMP ranch (behind the parsonage).  It completely covered corral fencing, allowing horses to walk right over the fence, and limited access to a lean-to where the horses sheltered. The person digging out was one of 6 Montana Conservation Corps young adults who came over from Kalispell/Big Fork to help. 

The quick response through churches and from UMCOR has made a big difference to the Blackfeet nation. The UMC organization of volunteers and contributions helped people respond effectively and efficiently to the crisis.  The immediate danger has lessened, and food collection has stopped, but we are still involved with recovery efforts and are praying that the record snowfalls do not cause widespread flooding.

–Jim Robison-Cox, BUMC volunteer at BUMP