In an urgent push to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, more than 100 people worked Thursday night at a storehouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tucker to fill humanitarian relief boxes headed to frontline responders in New Jersey.
Volunteers, a group that included local teenagers, teachers and members of the Church, worked quickly to fill more than 1200 boxes of food.
This, in addition to an earlier shipment Thursday morning, filled with food, generators, and chainsaws headed for Emerson, New Jersey, is just part of a large effort on behalf of the Church to bring aid to the region hit so hard by Hurricane Sandy.
The Tucker location is one of 129 church-owned storehouses in and out of the United States that is used to store and distribute food and supplies to the needy. It is also used to store and ship items for humanitarian relief during disaster events like Hurricane Sandy. Funding for the welfare program is provided by donations from Church members. One Sunday a month, members of the Church go without two meals and give the money they would have spent on food to the Church.
President David Frost, a church leader in the metro area, led this latest effort at the Tucker facility. Frost had to come up with a hundred people over night after he received a call on Halloween night with the urgent request. “Twenty-four hours later, 114 volunteers filled the warehouse,” he said.
Don Collins, a local church leader of a single-adult congregation in the Lilburn and Conyers area, brought more than 20 members with him to help with the relief effort. “It felt great to be here and see our young people working, serving the people up North and on the coast,” he said. “We really felt bad for them and wanted to help those who are living through such a hard time. We can’t be there, but we can do this.”
Tristin Hayes and Julie McClellan, both teachers at Camp Creek Elementary School in Lilburn, volunteered when they were told about the project by one of their students. McClellan brought her husband Mike McClellan, son, Anthony, and daughter, Elyse.
The family worked together packing ready-to-eat items that can be opened and eaten easily. “We’re just showing God’s love in a practical way,” she said.
For Tristin Hayes, helping in this effort was a chance to do for others what she would hope others would do for her. “It’s always a blessing to help because you never know when you are going to need help yourself and someone will be there for you,” she said.
Several teenagers from the Lilburn, Dacula and Lawrenceville area were excited to help out in the effort. One teen, Jason Mogle, was put to work taping and marking boxes for other workers to fill. “I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to serve,” he said.
Another teenager, Jacob Spotten, rushed home from school and turned right around to volunteer with his Boy Scout Troop 566 from Lawrenceville. Spotten, who has volunteered at the storehouse before, worked beside first–timer Madison Hurmence and others to get the job done. Spotten and other teens talked about how good they felt helping out people they could only see on the news.
“It’s nice to see how the Church serves those in need; to actually see what goes on and how people behind the scenes help,” she said. “It’s awesome.”
Madison Maggert and her sister Makayla Maggert were able to come with their mom, Tina, a Church seminary teacher who drove several of the teens Thursday night to the Tucker facility. Both sisters were excited to help and to see how wide their small act of service could spread.
Amber Larsen also came with her sister, Chelsea. “It's really cool that we can help people who are having bad times,” said Chelsea. “Everyone goes through tough times and everyone needs help sometimes. I’m glad to help.”
Kristina Whitehurst contributed to this article