Lancaster County: STATEN ISLAND THANKS YOU!
Six days to pull it off, two congregations as partners, and a lot of generous givers from around the community.
Estimated 21,000 disaster relief items !!!
(Note: Covenant UMC did not take a detailed inventory so their items could not be included. The final estimate of 21,000 combined items is based on visual estimates as the second bus was being loaded at Covenant)
MONEY: All money that was received by 5 pm on November 10 ($2,200 !) was used to purchase items that were delivered. Thereafter, cash received is being sent directly to UMCOR for Hurricane Sandy relief.
Press Release that got the bus moving:
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (November 6, 2012) – For one Lancaster family, the tragic loss of a friend in New York turned into a church-hosted donation drive and a small trailer full of supplies headed for Staten Island. Now two area churches have united to collect and deliver items that will keep desperate Staten Islanders warm and clean, keep cleanup workers equipped, and provide infants with needed nutrition. Thanks to a local bus company, they’ll be bringing more. A lot more.
“Companies get asked frequently, especially after a storm like this one,” says Mike Kramer, president of Shultz Transportation. “When we found out that Alex and his church had done it once, the right way; we decided to change it from ‘stuff the minivan’ to ‘stuff the school bus’.”
Covenant UMC in Lancaster, and Boehms UMC in Willow Street will open their doors to receive donations this Friday through Sunday. They welcome shovels (flat), work gloves, infant formula, diapers, baby wipes, toiletries (especially toilet paper), blankets, and socks. They also welcome monetary gifts which will be used to purchase more supplies and tools.
The idea began in tragedy: A New York relative of Lancaster resident Alex Cuebas awoke in a freezing-cold bed the morning after Hurricane Sandy struck New York to wake her mother, discovering that she had died in the cold. “That hit me hard,” says Cuebas, “I know that place. My family is there and New York is in my veins. I had to do something and do it quick. I didn’t want that to happen to anybody else’s family!”
A licensed CDL driver by trade, Cuebas was no stranger to getting goods to numerous places in New York. He made contact with Staten Island Assemblyman Mike Cusick, who was receiving and distributing items to his district. Cusick advised him of needs on a daily basis, changing as the situation changed. A local U-Haul dealer cut a deal on trailer rental. Alex recruited his friend Kevin Kresge, secured permission from his church (Covenant UMC) to host a donation-staging area, and put out a Facebook and e-mail appeal to everyone he knew. Over three days the piles of warm clothes, blankets, and hygiene supplies came in. After Sunday worship they packed up a rented Uhaul trailer, grabbed a few volunteers, delivered the donations and returned home that night.
“We weren’t allowed near the disaster areas, but we didn’t need to go there. The relief efforts are being staged in areas that have electricity and heat. Signs of the destruction and need are everywhere, though. Once we got there we were told of the extent of it and the lack of supplies. They called me Monday and asked if we could do it again. How could I say no?”
Pastor Eden and his family had donated to the first trip, then called about helping for the second. “Our church had been gearing up for some sort of relief support since before the storm hit, waiting on a clear call to act. Alex’s determination couldn’t have been any more clear of a call. It was an easy decision for me and the chair of missions at Boehms.”
Items needed are:
Flat edged shovels
Socks (all sizes)
Baby formula, Baby food, Diapers, Baby wipes
# # #