The week which began on July 22 became devastating for quite a few residents of Schuylkill county. By the time the rains stopped on Wednesday, Tremont and Pine Grove had the most damage; while residents of Tower City Borough, Porter, Pine Grove, Tremont, Frailey, Hegins, Hubley, Upper Mahantongo and Barry Township also felt the wrath.
Pine Grove has seen this situation before. Therefore, their recovery began early. The borough brought in dumpsters for damaged goods and a shelter was opened for a few days. Many people were prepared with sump pumps and have avoided storing much in the basement. Clean-up buckets were made available throughout the community. Pastor Jason Stump, St. Peter’s UCC in Pine Grove, has taken the lead and continues to serve the people of the community.
Tremont is another story. They had about 85 homes with water, some of which had several feet on the first floor. St. Peter’s UCC, Tremont, had water in the basement and in the parsonage. When the water was gone both basements were covered with a slimy mud. So that the congregation could hold services on July 29, volunteers from the area, as well as a group from a United Methodist Church in Gilbertsville, joined together to thoroughly clean the basement. St. Peter’s pastor, the Rev. Claude Schach, is very appreciative of the offers from the UCC churches in Donaldson, Ravine and Pine Grove for the use of their facilities.
There are several areas of continuing need as we support our churches in the area and the people of western Schuylkill Association:
- We are recruiting volunteers who are willing serve on a “spiritual care” team. If you are interested contact PSEC Disaster Coordinator Karl Jones, 570-617-4018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There is a need for funding. Therefore, a Disaster Fund has been established with the Schuylkill Association. Checks should be written to the Schuylkill Association and mailed to Rev. Maureen Duffy-Guy, 618 Arlington St., Tamaqua, PA 18252. One of the first purchases will be dehumidifiers which will be used throughout the communities to assist in the drying out process.
Schuylkill County Emergency Manager, John Matz, does not think that there will be a Presidential Declaration for Individual Assistance. Therefore, he says: “I foresee a need in the aftermath to provide assistance through the faith-based and VOAD groups. With the increasing number of disasters, the impacted residents will be best served within a neighbor to neighbor, inclusive network of caring individuals.”
State Senator David G. Argall, who serves western Schuylkill County, said, “In western Schuylkill County, we often see floods. Whenever this happens, our faith-based communities are always willing to help a neighbor in need. Churches bring supplies and offer a helping hand to let residents know that they are not alone. To quote from the Book of Proverbs ‘Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.’”
Schuylkill County pastors who are helping to guide this work are: Jason Stump, Claude Schach, Maureen Duffy-Guy, Shawn Van Dyke, and Karl Jones.
July 30, 2018