Mountain’s Second Sandy Relief Trip
Hello friends, I wanted to share a bit with you about our second convoy of supplies to NYC delivering relief…
I wanted to share a bit with you about our second convoy of supplies to NYC delivering relief supplies to our friends in Sandy’s path. First, let me say a HUGE THANK YOU to the Mountain people for coming through in such an amazing way! Wow! I sent a note out to you Saturday afternoon about the need in NYC and our impending trip. We stated the need. Hundreds responded, passed word around at work, neighborhoods, and generally spread the news. The outpouring was terrific. Monday afternoon we had 6 large trucks loaded with food, water, supplies, blankets, clothes, medicine and other personal item, along with drivers, and 8 other vehicles of workers and un-loaders pulling out of the parking lot. Our group of about 50 delivered a LOT of stuff, hope, and love last night. We pulled out around 4 PM. I got in bed at 4:30 AM this morning.
We’ve been working through church contacts in the City who put us in touch with some desperate need in Coney Island. We made three drops to areas hit hard. Awesome NYPD personnel escorted us down still-dark streets, with debris scattered, ruined furniture piled, windows blown out of cars. The waters in some areas had risen to the second or third floor. Stores are closed, cars stalled and covered/filled with silt. Sand had washed up and was still in the streets, like a kind of misplaced beach. You’ve seen the pictures on the news.It’s real.
We got to work and I’m so proud of the Mountain crew. In the cold and dark they absolutely tore it up and got the job done.
We made three drops to community centers that will service residents of public housing primarily. Folks there were blown away and so happy to see the much-needed supplies.
We worked together as a human relay station to offload thousands of pounds of goods.
Best of all was the personal touch. We brought more than stuff. We brought the love of God. And that means we brought hope. And that’s what folks really need right now. Someone from Mountain baked this bread and put a note on it – about how much Jesus cares. Someone in NYC will receive that bread from the Bread of Life today.
We hoped to be home at midnight. But we didn’t finish up at the last distribution center until 1:00 AM. Though the work was hard and cold, nobody complained or whined, aware of those we had come to serve whose circumstances were an actual hardship. Before we left the final center, this man was our first customer, so grateful for the new blanket he could take home to his wife and daughter.
Some of our Mountain second graders made personal notes and cards to send along . We handed them out to warm the hearts of chilled people huddled in jackets.
This little girl was standing in the distribution center with her parents watching as we stacked and sorted supplies. I asked her mother what they needed and they said they had no heat or light in their apartment, and were just trying to warm up for a bit. I gave the little girl one of the cards from our second graders.
I asked her name. She said, “Treasure.” I wanted to squeeze her guts out, and told her she was indeed a treasure. I told her some second graders back in Maryland loved her and were praying for her and sent a card for her. I handed it to her. Guess how old she was? You guessed it: second grade. She smiled ear to ear, and went home with a bag of food, a warm sweatshirt, and a clear sense that God loves her. That is a Treasure indeed.
We had lots of opportunities to pray with folk. One of our workers got to pray with a high school boy who was sent off to gather some supplies for his family.
All this has created a bit of a stir. WBAL called to inquire what we were doing. While we were on the streets of New York, Fox News 5 interviewed a number of us and others told us they saw us on the news in New York last night. This morning I spoke with SHINE FM here in Baltimore and later the Aegis called. I told them all what you already know, and that is we are not heroes. We are simply doing what Christ-following people do. Without any need for fanfare we love. We show up. We serve. We pray. We encourage. We have been blessed, so we want to be a blessing. We have been changed so we want to bring change. We simply want to give so that “out of our abundance we may supply their lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:14 We put a drop of Jesus’ love into the bucket of need.
Some of the real heroes are the survivors who are banding together in dire circumstances. The heroes are the community center and housing directors and civic leaders who are distributing supplies. The church members and pastors we are partnering with in NYC and New Jersey. And speaking of heroes – we were blown away by the dedication, courtesy, class, and commitment of the NYPD. They were everywhere doing whatever it took to make everything happen. Here is Officer Kennedy and Captain White, extremely capable leaders and graciously welcoming people who were genuinely grateful to the Mountain people and wanted me to express that to you all.
Their precinct headquarters is underwater and they have lost so much. Many of their own homes are without power. And yet they are working nearly around the clock to keep the streets safe. We saw them care for people, and pitch in to haul boxes of food and water. They supported us, escorted us, and yes, they shared their donuts and coffee with us. As we prepared to leave, we gathered around them, and prayed. Officer Chung shook my hand, and in a very sober tone he told me to tell you all thank you very much, from the bottom of their hearts. Then he handed me a patch as a gesture of appreciation, to remind you that you all are honorary members of the NYPD.
Reports from Others on the Trip
I received some emails from those on the trip. One said:
Well….I’m an emotional basket case today. My heart is filled and my heart is broken at the same time. I hope the people who receive those gifts from the folks at MCC are half as blessed as I was for being a part of the adventure last night. Life changing.
All the stuff I’ve been reading and learning came to life last night. All the fear and sense of loss I saw in their eyes last night was washed away by Jesus’ love. To touch them and hug them and to give some glimmer of hope allowed me to receive God’s love in a way that was uplifting and cleansing.
I’m so proud of my church and my God. What I saw last night was selfless and consistent with everything you preach about from the pulpit. What a powerful vision and excellent execution of that vision. I’m so grateful to be a part of that experience.
And folks, ALL of you are part of that experience, whether you donated or prayed or rode along.
Greg Tutino, one of our elders, went on this trip. Today he told me that something amazing happened last night, and then this:
They only way that happens is by folks at our church who get it and by the hard work of a lot of people. When we come together we can accomplish a lot in a very short time.
The people I saw were incredibly appreciative of not just the stuff we brought but by the fact that some folks far away cared for them enough to drive all night to bring them a bottle of water to a very thirsty group of people.
Thank you for all the hard work that you do to allow opportunities like this to be grabbed and acted upon and to expand His Kingdom so forcefully!
We are talking daily with our contacts and assessing the need in various areas and how we can best meet them. We need to take another trip soon. The more pressing needs where we will go next appear to be food – non-perishables, canned and so on, water, personal living supplies, and cleaning supplies like mops, rags, detergents and the like. We believe there may be less need for clothing where we are going next. This is what we are planning now:
A collection for the next trip to areas of need is beginning tonight, Tuesday, November 6. You can drop off supplies at the New Life Center on Mountain Road as follows. Please deposit your donations directly into the trucks in the parking lot. Drop off times are as follows: Wednesday & Thursday – 9am to 9pm.
The trucks are parked in the parking lot by the NLC, close to Mountain Road. Please bring donations IN BOXES and well labeled for contents. Friday morning at 8am we finish loading and organizing the trucks. We aim to depart at 10 AM for the place we are determining as we do assessment.
If you have further questions, or wish to volunteer to organize, load, drive a truck, or unload or otherwise serve, tell us at Sandy@mountaincc.org.
As our contacts on the ground tell us they are ready for us to come for more WORK oriented trips, where we get in and help with hands-on clean up, we will let everyone know and organize those trips ASAP. Stay tuned. Keep checking and subscribe to Ben’s Notes on the resource page there. Pass the word around far and wide, beyond Mountain alone. The need is great, and people want to help, so spread the word and let’s do this.
Now that this election is over, we can get down to the business of voting with our hearts and hands.
With you in Loving God, Loving People, and Serving the World,