On Friday we posted a video highlighting two congregations that, along side Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, have played an active role in Superstorm Sandy relief and rebuilding. If you took a few minutes to view the video, you may have noticed that some of the volunteers interviewed in the video appeared a bit on the “young” side, so I wanted to offer you a deeper look into their story.
The following was written by Angela Rines, Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at The Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ:
In the past few years, New Jersey has seen its fair share of natural disasters. Hurricane Irene, a surprise October snowstorm, and then there was of course Superstorm Sandy. As residents of New Jersey, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown has experienced each of these storms in their own way. While we had some damage, week long power outages, and mile long gas lines here in North Jersey, it was nothing compared to what happened to shore communities all along the coast. The shore in New Jersey has special meaning for all who live here, filled with family and childhood memories for generations. So when these places were hit, all New Jersyans felt it.
Our church has been very active in the past helping with Katrina relief, along with disaster relief in Joplin, MO. So when the disaster happened in our own backyard, it only made sense for our congregation to also get involved in the relief work here. Our efforts at Point Pleasant were truly an all congregation effort. We had children making stepping stones for gardens with attached cards of encouragement and high school youth serving alongside adults in our congregation during our weeklong trip. We are hoping this fall to share with the children where their stepping stones found their homes and share our experience with the larger congregation.
Our group of adults and youth were ready and flexible to help anywhere during our week at Point Pleasant. We helped paint, build showers for future service teams to use, sheetrocked a garage, and helped with whatever tasks that homeowners needed. One of the most meaningful experiences for us that week was helping a couple move into their home. It was the first time they had spent the night in their home in over 9 months. Through our day spent with them cleaning and moving, we were able to hear their story and be the hands and feet of Jesus. They were just one of the families we were able to interact with. In many ways that week we got more than we gave.
We will continue to serve those affected by Sandy as the work is just beginning. This year we plan to continue to have day trips to areas affected, as well as an October weeklong trip for adults. It will be many years before life is back to normal for the families who made their home along the shore. And though New Jersey may be “stronger than the storm,” help is still greatly needed.
– Angela Rines
To learn more how you can contribute additional resources to helping provide hope to those who have been affected by disaster, please visit the One Great Hour of Sharing page at https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/specialofferings/one-great-hour-sharing-offering/.
Have a great week!