On Sunday morning, a group of small children gathered at the front of State College Presbyterian Church to learn how to assemble “cleanup buckets” to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Under the guidance of Michael Ozaki, associate pastor for youth and mission, they placed dish soap, work gloves and other items into the demo bucket, providing a visual reference for the adults scattered throughout the pews.
“People need a lot of help right now and so we, because we’re the church, are going to start helping them,” Ozaki told the kids.
After the service, pastor Dean Lindsey bid visitors goodbye at the door.
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Before he arrived in State College, Lindsey served the parishioners at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Houston.
“They just had very minimal water damage there, so I’m grateful for that,” Lindsey said.
He’s seen photos of places that Harvey has hit much worse, familiar streets or neighborhoods that have sustained damage.
People need a lot of help right now and so we, because we’re the church, are going to start helping them.
Lindsey is hopeful that a mission trip the church is working to organize to Houston in the spring can aid in the cleanup efforts.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to do something,” Lindsey said.
So far, 21 people have pledged to put together cleanup buckets by next Sunday, and Ozaki expects that number to continue to grow. Once all of the donations have been brought to the church, volunteers will organize and transport them to a distribution warehouse in Mechanicsburg.
This is a huge tragedy but I always get excited to see this community come together and do stuff.
Ozaki believes that everyone is looking for a way to support Houston and the other areas affected by Harvey.
“The hardest thing, to be honest, is finding the right thing to do,” Ozaki said.
For help with that, State College Presbyterian is following the lead of Mission Central, an affiliate of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church that has experience in disaster response.
Theirs is a more streamlined approach to philanthropy — the buckets are filled with items directed toward the sole purpose of cleaning homes that have been damaged by the hurricane.
A few of the items — scouring pads, for example — should be submitted sans the plastic wrapper to cut down on additional waste.
“This is a huge tragedy but I always get excited to see this community come together and do stuff,” Ozaki said.
For a complete list of items that should be included with each cleanup bucket, visit http://scpresby.org/hurricane-harvey-response-presbyterian-disaster-assistance/.