Bowing their heads to pray before digging into their delicious spaghetti lunch, volunteers who have been helping the people impacted by devastating floods in Schuylkill County were celebrated for their generosity, commitment, and courage.
At this volunteer appreciation lunch, different members from a variety of Lutheran churches and networks gathered together and reflected on how they’ve helped the people of Schuylkill County repair their homes, and given them back the comfort and security they’ve always known throughout their community.
Tables were set beside ambulance vehicles as volunteers helped themselves to a homemade pasta lunch with delightful desserts and drinks in Tremont Ambulance Station. A true community effort, food, drinks, and supplies for the lunch were contributed by various members and churches throughout the local area. Speakers who thanked volunteers included Mayor Ney of Tremont, Representative Mike Tobash, Chair of Schuylkill County Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC), John Blickley, and other local pastors and leaders.
The lunch was a wonderful representation of how different networks and churches from the community all came together to help families and individuals of Schuylkill County.
Among the volunteers was Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) Construction Coordinator, Dennis Steffy, who has helped with much of the recovery efforts within the community. Volunteers from different churches included Suzanne Schach and Pastor Mark Brooks who are also members of the Schuylkill County LTRC.
Volunteer, Juan Rosado, was also in attendance as he enjoyed sharing a meal with his fellow neighbors. Juan moved from Brooklyn to Tremont about two years ago. When the floods hit Schuylkill County last August, Juan’s home was severely impacted. With water up to the ceiling of his basement, and mold spreading through to his first floor, the drywall in Juan’s house had to be completely gutted and replaced.
For Juan, his main concern about the flooding was not his house, but his seven dogs as well as his neighbors. After everyone made it through the floods safely, Juan knew the recovery process would be challenging. Juan began volunteering at Kitty’s Closet, an organization started by St. John’s Lutheran in Tremont who played a major role in the recovery by providing families with food, clothing, and furniture. Debra Morano and Cathy Brown, are also key volunteers at Kitty’s Closet who were present at the lunch. Originally from Brooklyn, Debra moved to Tremont three years ago and she says she loves her neighbors like family.
“Volunteers coming from far away to help out just shows that people really care.” –Debra Morano
From the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Leesport, mother-daughter volunteers Sue and Diana Biehl, truly enjoyed having lunch with the people who have helped in Schuylkill County’s recovery. Familiar with the benevolence of volunteer work, Sue has been involved in long-term recovery work for over 14 years. Sue and her daughter have volunteered in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and many other parts of the east coast affected by disaster.
Closing out dinner with delightful desserts, volunteer Mary Frew from St. John’s Lutheran, Tremont arranged for a local Sunday school class to make goodie bags for those who attended. Baking a delicious cake and creating a beautiful banner, Mary made sure that volunteers left the lunch with full stomachs and smiles.
Throughout the Liberty Lutheran family of services there are so many caring individuals who authentically and selflessly define what it means to serve others.