Reports of bad weather have most people checking the TV for a storm’s path so they know whether to stay indoors, cover garden plants, or perhaps hunker in the basement for a time.
New England Chapel team with homeowners who need help.
But in Franklin, Mass., members of New England Chapel, a Christian Reformed congregation, wonder what they can do for surrounding towns that have been hit by storms.
A year ago, after a tornado plowed through Brimfield, a town 60 miles away, church members asked, “What can we do?” For over a year now, they have traveled to other towns hit by storms asking the same question.
New England Chapel’s weekly mission trips consist of lots of manual labor. But physical ailments aren’t the only thing tornadoes leave in their wake. “We spent a lot of time looking for lost pictures and other things of personal value,” said church member Gwen Clark.
The congregation’s work has continued throughout the summer. Every Saturday a group travels an hour to help out. Currently the church is working 90 miles away in Springfield, another city hit hard by storms. Dena Gauthier, one of the organizers of the relief efforts, has volunteers complete a skills assessment so that the group the church works with, Springfield Community Together, can plan appropriate projects.
“Our assignments have included some tree cutting and debris removal, but we have also installed windows and gutters, torn down fences, and seeded lawns,” said Gauthier.
This year, the church will partner with the CRC’s Disaster Response Service to continue their relief efforts. “We have been involved with short-term mission trips for years, so when tornadoes rolled through our state, it seemed like an opportunity to help,” Gauthier said. “As long as I can put a team together and we are needed, we will go.”