Some hurricane victims in New Jersey have a little more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, thanks to midstaters who took part in our Operation Sandy Relief campaign. We asked and you answered. All month, you donated brand new coats, blankets, diapers, toys, and so much more. Now your generosity is really making a difference.
Volunteers at Mission Central in Mechanicsburg are dealing with precious cargo, items you donated to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. You gave so much, it was too much for the 53-foot tractor trailer. Another truck had to be brought in. After days of giving, it was finally time to take these donations to the people who need them.
After seeing the giant tractor trailer make its way down the tiny street to Venice Park United Methodist Church in Atlantic City, people were overjoyed and a bit overwhelmed. Unlike Mission Central, there are no forklifts here. Everything has to go by hand.
After a quick prayer, the volunteers begin the long process of unloading the truck. "Oh my God, what a blessing," said storm victim Lisa Lewis, "that is truly a blessing to see people open their hearts to give so much to the people down here."
Even strangers stopped to lend a hand. In less than two hours, everything was off the truck and in the church. In all, they unloaded 40-thousand pounds! "We can't thank you enough and there are not enough words to explain or exclaim our joy and happiness for what you have done for us," said Rev. Clifford Still, Pastor of Venice Park UMC. Pastor Still says they'll probably get everything handed out by the end of the week; that's how great the need is.
"It's sad that it will be going that quick, but it's also good that it's here to go," said Still.
Elizabeth Austin lost nearly everything. She says the little things like cleaning supplies are a big help. "It means a lot. Saves me a lot of money too; money that I don't have," said Austin.
Cary Duncan is here with his 5-year-old daughter Munajah. Most of her clothes were ruined when her bedroom flooded. She only has a thin jacket, that doesn't even have sleeves. Now she has a new, warm coat. "It takes a lot of stress off me," said Duncan, "I hate to see her go out like this in the morning and now I'm happy, and I'm thankful for all the donations that's coming in. I'm so grateful and it's been wonderful."
"People pull together, and it's so wonderful how they pull together when a disaster happens. It's just a blessing," said Austin. "Blessings" is a word we heard a lot throughout this day. While watching these people find reasons to smile, you may want to take time to count yours.
The items will continue to be given out to the people who need them. Midstaters also donated more than $30,000 in cash to help the victims of the storm. We want to thank everyone who helped make Operation Sandy Relief possible, but most of all we want to thank those of you who decided to give.