After seeing news footage of Hurricane Sandy, Lucas Connor wanted to do something to help. He wasn’t going to let the fact that he is 13 years old and lives in Ohio stop him.
Some of the troops and the blankets they delivered to Covenant in January.
On his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting, Lucas planned and organized a blanket drive in his hometown of Gallon, Ohio. He collected 250 blankets from schools and churches, then sent emails and made phone calls to churches along the east coast.
One of the churches that responded was Covenant CRC.
“We are very grateful for Pastor Trevor Payton and Dave Zuidema,” said Alan Connor, Lucas’s father. Covenant CRC is located in Passaic County, about 20 miles from Manhattan. “We weren’t the hardest hit,” said Zuidema, who was the main contact for this project. “But the church is central to the sweep of the affected coastline. Sandy ravaged the entire coast of New Jersey and Long Island,” he said, and there is plenty more to be done.
Zuidema’s wife, Yvonne, is president of United Way of Passaic County, so when Lucas got in touch with Covenant, she knew who might need the blankets. All that was left to do was ship them. Except Lucas’s youth group leader had another plan. “She encouraged Lucas to take a trip to the east coast,” said Connor.
Doing so would mean planning another project, which is exactly what Lucas did. With the help of Covenant CRC, Lucas and five of his troop mates, along with their chaperones, had a place to sleep and a few meals provided. They also had a chance to tour parts of the east coast to see some of the damage. Because there is still so much damage in the area, Connor said, they weren’t able to get as close as they would have liked. “But we could see that Long Island was completely torn up along the shore line.”
The blanket drive was not easy. There were many starts and stops, but Lucas told his dad, “This is what I have to do.” Thanks to many in Gallon and Covenant CRC, Lucas was able to provide a little bit of warmth to victims hit hard by Sandy’s destructive winds.
About the Author
Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.