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Nov. 2: United Methodists roll up sleeves to help those enduring the impact of Sandy

November 2, 2012

United Methodist News Service will continue to update information on recovery efforts as the information becomes available.

From providing shelters and soup kitchens to ferrying truckloads of requested items, United Methodists are helping their neighbors as they recover from Hurricane Sandy.

In Bloomfield, N.J., Park United Methodist Church is operating a warming center. “We’re just trying to be here 24 hours a day for whoever needs it,” the Rev. Joel Hubbard III told a reporter from “If they need a place to charge up their cell phone or computers, or to get the chill out of their bones or for food, they are more than welcome.”

According to the American Red Cross website, Hurricane Sandy has forced the cancellation of approximately 350 blood drives in 14 states along the East Coast, resulting in a shortfall of more than 11,800 units of blood and platelets thus far. Power outages and flooding in many areas will likely result in the cancellation of additional blood drives and platelet donations throughout the week. But United Methodists across the United States are responding to the shortage. Ridge United Methodist Church in Munster, Ind., will sponsor a blood drive Sunday, Nov. 4. To find a blood drive near you – or to host one, go to the American Red Cross website.

Jesse Lee United Methodist Church in Easton, Conn., also offers a warming station for those without power. The congregation’s annual turkey dinner, scheduled for Nov. 3 is open to the public. The Rev. Christine Kim said, “Please help us spread the word so that more people can receive the help they need. We offer charging stations, water, hot coffee and snacks.” and

Red Cross shelters in York County, Pennsylvania, kept four shelters open, including one at Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Loganville.

Parishioners at First United Methodist Church, College Park, Ga., are responding to a call for specific resources. “We want to get our trucks rolling Monday because they need water right now, formula right now and diapers right now,” Billy Zeh, chairman of local ministries told The Brunswick News. The church worked out a deal with a trucking company to transport the items.

As far away as Indiana, where Sandy brought wind, rain and colder temperatures, the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen in Hancock County saw heavier traffic. “We had a big rush yesterday with the first real cold spell, and we’re expecting the same today,” David Daringer, a volunteer from New Palestine (Ind.) United Methodist Church told a reporter from

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The wedding must go on

Jesse Pollack grew up in Clark, N.J., and his family still lives there. So, despite Hurricane Sandy, he and his bride-to-be traveled from Ohio to New Jersey to celebrate their wedding Nov. 1 at Cranford (N.J.) United Methodist Church. Asked why they decided not to postpone the ceremony, Ann Pollack told a reporter for, “It was planned for today, and luckily it still happened.”

“We heard that a big storm was coming our way (in Ohio),” said the groom, donning tuxedo and top hat. “We said ‘Well, we’ve got to beat that one and get to Jersey before the hurricane hits.”

‘It could have been much worse’

Tackling muck from driveways and sidewalks and flood-drenched carpeting, residents of Ocean City, N.J., agreed, “It could have been much worse.” Speaking to a reporter from the Ocean City Gazette, Phil and Candy Young said their home had taken on water — “just enough to wet everything,” Phil said — for the first time in 35 years. Yet, they said, it could have been worse. Phil, who works for St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, said, from the water marks he saw, it appeared a foot of water had gotten into the ground floor of the church.