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Picking up the Pieces: Comfort, Demo, Food and Water

July, 2016

Rev. Jeff Wells, in green, checks in with one of his youth group members and her friends in front of the teen’s storm-damaged home in Massapequa, N.Y. on November 3.

Rev. Jeff Wells, in green, checks in with one of his youth group members and her friends in front of the teen’s storm-damaged home in Massapequa, N.Y. on November 3.

Teen volunteers sorting donated clothing in the dark basement of Grace UMC in Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Teen volunteers sorting donated clothing in the dark basement of Grace UMC in Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Pastor Vicki Flippin, third from right, and her team on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Pastor Vicki Flippin, third from right, and her team on Saturday, Nov. 3.

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November 5, 2012

New York City

Associate Pastor Vicki Flippin reports: The Church of the Village and friends walked up food and water to the Lower East Side housing projects! Our quads are sore, but our hearts are warmed. There are many others who still need help, and we encourage you to volunteer, donate, and be God’s presence in your communities and beyond.

Long Island

Rev. Jeff Wells, pastor of Community UMC in Massapequa, N.Y., spent much of Saturday afternoon checking on parishioners who live south of Merrick Road. In this community on the Great South Bay, Wells estimated that the homes of about 20 congregation members had been severely damaged by Sandy’s winds and the storm surge. Some of them were ripping out renovations that had been made just a year earlier in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. In addition to words of comfort, Wells was passing out a list of parishioners who had opened their homes for hot showers, laundry, phone and internet connections.

On Saturday, the community was buzzing with activity as homeowners, family and friends took advantage of the clear weather to work on the daunting task of cleanup. Volunteers from the church had already been dispatched to several homes to help in removing the waterlogged contents. As piles formed on every street, village trucks moved in to remove the storm debris.

When Wells returned to the church after several hours in the community there was good news: the power was back on in the church. He quickly went inside to check the phones and that there would be heat for Sunday worship. The pastor told me later that night that the church would be serving as one of the conference centers for the recovery work. He was expecting the arrival of the NYAC tool trailer on Monday or Tuesday.

Further east, the power may have been out at Grace UMC in Lindenhurst, N.Y., but they were still serving hot meals over the weekend thanks to a gas stove and willing volunteers. Six adults and a dozen teens were busy serving pasta and hotdogs, and sorting the donated clothing that was pouring in. Early on Saturday, a team had driven food and water down to the hardest hit area of town south of Montauk Highway.

On Saturday night, I found Pastor Lee Gangaware in the parsonage stoking a fire in preparation for worship. The parsonage had electricity so the regular Saturday night service was being moved next door.

– Rev. Joanne S. Utley, NYAC Communications