Written by Phyllis Richards
Hurricane Sandy evoked the generosity of many across the United Church of Christ.
Luke Shaull, 6 years old, who attends St. John’s UCC, in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, raised nearly $1,300 for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Luke was so affected by images of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation that all he could do was bury his face in a couch pillow and cry. But once his tears subsided, Luke’s grief transformed into motivation and the first-grader decided to take action. He decorated a shoe box and cut a hole in the lid for money to go into. Luke asked his grandparents for donations and asked to take the box to church on Sunday, where the congregation spontaneously and joyously shared their gifts.
Luke was initially inspired by the Hurricane Sandy telethon, which was on television just days after the devastating storm. After that, “the whole driving force was completely Luke,” said Lee Shaull, the church’s music director, of his son’s idea. “He is so genuine and has such a heart of gold. He just wants everyone to be happy.”
After having done significant damage in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy crossed over Eastern North America and caused major power outages, flooding and damage to infrastructure and personal property, and was nick-named Superstorm Sandy because of its size and magnitude. Damages are estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.
Margaret and Irene Forsyth, sisters in their nineties, where also deeply moved by the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused. They knew they wanted to give through the United Church of Christ in support of relief and recovery efforts. “We trust the church to know how best to help and to use the money wisely,” said Irene. So, Irene called Zions Reformed UCC in Greenville, Pennsylvania, where she and Margaret are members to inquire where to send their donations. Soon their generous gifts were received by the One Great Hour of Sharing office in Cleveland, Ohio.
Luke, Margaret and Irene, each took action to help others, proving generosity knows no age limit.
One Great Hour of Sharing has provided blankets, food, clean water, shelter and medical care for communities across the Caribbean impacted by Hurricane Sandy. UCC congregations in the Superstorm’s path received support to provide food, shelter and aid to devastated communities and to repair damaged church buildings. The UCC’s response to Hurricane Sandy is projected to last three to five years.
Continuing updates on Hurricane Sandy relief efforts are at: www.ucc.org/disaster/hurricane-sandy/.