As power is restored up and down the east coast, stories are emerging about how people are helping their communities after Hurricane Sandy ripped through their neighborhoods.
Several New Jersey Christian Reformed churches are among those that are not only affected by the storm but are also busy serving food, looking out for children and the elderly, and tirelessly offering a helping hand in shelters.
Covenant CRC in North Haledon and Bridgeway Community CRC in Haledon both organized dinners during the storm. Covenant had gas power available during the power outage, so members prepared a pasta dinner and invited the community in to eat by candlelight. Members at Bridgeway Community prepared a dinner for a shelter in Prospect Park where the community was also without power.
At New City CRC in Jersey City, one of the main concerns was making sure children and teens were okay. Staff members walked around in groups of two to look for the teens they diligently work with every day. In an update sent out to other churches, pastor Trevor Rubingh asked for prayers for “the children in our after-school center and the tone in the homes. It can be easy for kids to get restless without school, TV, and electronic games, and parents’ nerves can be easily frazzled.”
Back at Covenant CRC, a planned celebration of the 50th anniversary of World Renew, formerly the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, had to be postponed. Now scheduled for late November, the church promised that Andrew Ryskamp, U.S. director of World Renew, would be there to give an update on the CRC’s response to Hurricane Sandy.
In Paterson, even as she worked 12-hour shifts for the Red Cross in a Paterson shelter, Rev. Sheila Holmes found time to send out a message about how other churches along the east coast are faring. Holmes’s congregation at Northside Community CRC is no stranger to hurricane damage. A year ago, their building sustained extensive damage from flooding in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
In her update, Holmes noted that Bridgeway Community has a sign outside their church telling those who need help that they can contact the church: a welcome message with or without a storm.