Because of the generosity of the churches of Pennsylvania Southeast Conference, we have been able to help those in Florida who are trying to clean up following Hurricane Ian. Previously, we have told you about the clean-up buckets that went from Zion Blue Mountain Church in Strausstown. Here is part two.

A few weeks ago, Michele Smith, a member of St. Mark’s UCC, Cressona, and an employee of R & J Transportation in Pottsville, contacted the PSEC Disaster Coordinator, Karl Jones, asking what they could do to help the people in Florida. She said, “There are so many local families who have relocated or spend their winters in Florida, Jay Newswanger and I just felt our business, R & J Transportation, Inc. should do something to help.”

Karl’s response was a request to help transport clean up buckets and hygiene kits from Zwingli UCC, Souderton, to Mission Central in Mechanicsburg for shipment to Florida. R & J said “Yes” to the request.

The next step was to get the buckets and kits organized at Zwingli Church. The church office staff and Jim See, who manages the bucket inventory at Zwingli Church, answered that call. Jim picked up buckets at St. Stephens’ UCC, Perkasie, and arranged for help to move buckets from the basement of Zwingli Church to the parking lot. They were then to be picked up by a minibus from R & J. You can imagine the surprise on everyone’s face when a motor coach appeared in the parking lot at Zwingli. And it was needed. In all, 87 buckets and 52 kits were loaded at Zwingli Church.

Jay (owner of R & K Transportation, Inc.) and Diane Newswanger are members of First UCC, Schuylkill Haven. Learning that there were buckets at their church, Diane called Pastor Shawn Van Dyke, who provided 19 additional buckets to be picked up at First UCC, Schuylkill Haven. In all 106 buckets and 52 buckets were delivered to Mission Central on Monday morning by R & J Transportation. (The market value of these kits and buckets exceeds $8,000.)

Michele reflects: “It felt extremely fulfilling to donate our time, energy, and transportation to help get these buckets off to Florida. Just the little things, such as transporting these buckets, can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

Diane says, “It was a wonderful feeling to do something to make a difference and really help people who were really in need.”

We are blessed in this Conference to have churches and people who are willing to work together to enable this amazing outreach to the citizens of Florida and their road to recovery.

And the story continues: There is a great need to replenish our inventory of buckets and kits. You can learn how you can be a part of this effort by clicking here and clicking here. The national setting of the UCC is still offering $250 matching grants to churches to put together buckets.