Lower East Side churches and volunteers distributed 5,000 coats, scarves, boots and other winter supplies at the schoolyard at PS 34 in New York Saturday, in the shadow of the power plant that darkened lower Manhattan during Superstorm Sandy.
The only Manhattan location is one of 11 regional hubs created by a unique partnership between American Red Cross, Somebody Cares America, New York Christian Resource Center and local faith-based groups that collectively distributed 50,000 coats and more last weekend to communities most directly impacted by the storm.
“We are delighted to see the Red Cross partner with us in this way,” one of the organizers, Pastor Rick Del Rio from Abounding Grace Ministries, said. “Though power has returned to Lower Manhattan, the lingering effects of the storm are still being felt. What better way to warm the hearts of children and families during the holidays, then by warming their physical bodies first.”
Last weekend’s clothing distribution marks the return of the pop-up relief site that became the largest in Manhattan in the week following Sandy. Organized by a grass-roots network of churches and community groups on Tuesday after the storm, they provided hot meals, water, non-perishable food and other needed supplies to 20,000 people over five days.
“When you marry the resource base with groups like Red Cross and Somebody Cares with the grass-roots sensibility and the relational equity that exists with faith-based groups and community groups on the ground, special things happen,” Del Rio said in a video posted at graceinthestorm.com a day after the outreach. “That's definitely been our story following Hurricane Sandy. The silver lining to this superstorm has been the way that community has unfolded so organically so dramatically for the benefit of so many.”
“Congregations can be effective first responders during crises because we know the needs of our communities, and have earned the trust of our neighbors,” said Pastor Guy Wasko of Trinity Grace Church, another of the organizers. “When emergency response groups work together with us, we can minimize gaps and match relief to the greatest need. This is what it means to be a good neighbor.”
On Friday afternoon the American Red Cross shipment arrived in a 53’ tractor trailer, which volunteers unloaded, sorted and prepared for distribution on Saturday.
Del Rio explained the churches’ commitment to ongoing relief work a month after the storm: “Churches that fail to meet the needs of their communities fail to reflect the Christ we celebrate at Christmas. We’ve lived in and served this neighborhood for over 30 years.
“When a power plant exploded in our backyard, and people lost their homes and businesses and so much more in the flood, we couldn’t sit around and wait for others to bring healing. We were compelled to respond, and will continue to do so as long as the need remains.”
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.