Standing in the midst of what was their neighborhood along the New Jersey shore after super storm Sandy claimed lives and livelihoods, the victims cried bitter-sweet tears.
They were saddened by such tremendous loss, but heartened and buoyed by such love they were now witness to.
Strangers walking up the debris-strewn roads with tools, supplies, food and water, and big hearts and hands. That’s what these storm victims saw. That’s what was moving them to tears.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, several Richmond County residents volunteered to help and made their way northward, and we applaud their devotion and mission.
The North Carolina Baptist Men sent several men, including six from Rockingham, with equipment, tools and food to New Jersey where they worked around the clock in several locations to cut trees from houses, tear insulation out of damaged homes and feed the cold and hungry who had been living with no power.
“We went up on Nov. 3 and stayed for one week,” said Dennis Holloway, team leader.
“The people were so appreciative, they would just cry,” Holloway said. “They couldn’t understand why people had come from North Carolina to help them. They were so receptive and appreciate that we had come up. They still had no power and no heat and it was in the 20s at night. They had no way to cook. A lot had no hope … .”
Holloway described the scene as pure devastation.
“You can’t imagine without going. Everything the people owned was in the streets. There was a lot of looting. There were trees on top of houses, homes torn apart, water had surged and there was water and sand four feet inside the homes,” he said.
“Our feeding unit fed 20,000 meals a day. We worked around the clock, but those cooks, they got up and started at 4 a.m. and didn’t stop until 10 p.m.,” said Holloway. The NC Baptist Men not only helped restore many victims’ homes to be livable, they also gave them hope.
NC Baptist Men also went to Manhattan and Atlantic City that week as part of disaster relief efforts.
At a moment’s notice, the NC Baptist Men move in and make a difference.
It’s good to know we have stand up men from right here in our own back yard, who walk the talk and work hard to ease the pain of others, to assist strangers with massive trials and tribulations. Thank God for the NC Baptist Men and its disaster relief work.
According to the organization, the motivation behind NC Baptist Disaster Relief efforts can be summed up by looking at biblical accounts of Jesus teaching and healing, such as: His feeding the multitudes, the parable of the Good Samaritan, and urging people to serve others in a variety of ways.
Good lessons for us all.
There but for the grace of God, go I.
NCBM Disaster Relief is funded entirely by donations. If you would like to support this ministry mail a check, designated for Disaster Relief Fund, to: North Carolina Baptist Men, P. O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512-1107.