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

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.

New York City

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

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.

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

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

1 comment

  1. Sue Frederick

    My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has gone thought the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. I live in Bloomsburg, PA, the only town in PA. September 2011 saw our area devasted by the remnants of Tropical Storm Leo, following Hurricane Irene. Although the area of devastation is much smaller than the eastern seaboard, the losses and destruction were si liar. Homes swept off foundations. Rivers and streams overflowing their banks and sweeping away cars, buildings, anything not fastened down and many things that were fastened. No power, no water, no roads including part of I-80. Many angels on earth were seen over the next weeks and months. Bloomsburg University students who were flooded into Bloomsburg worked from dawn to dusk mucking out homes full of toxic water, decades old belongings, rotten food from gardens, sewage and so forth. Your area will also recover, angels will also appear. The going won’t be easy but one thing I’ve discovered is that many people here have learned to be more humble, more grateful and much more willing to give of themselves and their resources. God bless each of you – He is with you.

Leave a Reply