Two weeks after packing a freight truck with supplies to send to Houston for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, New Hope Chapel of Plymouth this past weekend packed a truck full of supplies for the victims of Hurricane Irma and sent it off to the Florida Keys.
PLYMOUTH – Two weeks after packing a freight truck with supplies to send to Houston for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, New Hope Chapel of Plymouth this past weekend packed a truck full of supplies for the victims of Hurricane Irma and sent it off to the Florida Keys, with church member Jim Harris and Eric Hanna (who also drove the New Hope truck to Houston) tag-teaming the driving.
New Hope accepted donations of non-perishable food items and hygiene products from church members and the community Thursday through Sunday afternoon. Volunteers from the church worked to pack these in sealable, stackable boxes, separated by item type and marked accordingly.
Volunteers then packed all of the donations on pallets and shrink-wrapped them. Sixteen pallets were filled with donated items. Cash donated to the effort by church members allowed New Hope to purchase five pallets of water and one pallet full of each cleaning supplies and diapers to fill the truck to capacity.
“Like with the truck we packed for Houston, this really was a community effort,” said New Hope head pastor Neil Eaton. “Tragedy and hardship have a way of bringing out the best in people, and we saw that here.”
New Hope member Vedna Heywood, who has family in Florida, organized New Hope’s “Hope for Florida” effort.
“I’m just happy to be part of a church that understands the importance of community and outreach,” Heywood said. “I’ve lived in this town for less than 10 years, after growing up in the South Florida area. I am quite familiar with the devastation that a hurricane brings and I understand the frustration and despair felt afterwards. I am glad that my church, New Hope Chapel, the community of Plymouth and surrounding areas were able to pull together and serve those affected by the storm in their time of need. It’s a beautiful example of our enduring humanity.”
The truck arrived safely at the Key West Methodist Church in Key West Tuesday morning.
Jim Harris took pictures from the passenger seat of the truck cab as Eric Hanna drove through Key West.
“I simply can’t capture how destroyed these properties are,” said Harris. “Mountains of debris, splintered trees and wood everywhere. Signs, refrigerators, mattresses, sofas, roofs, strewn in the flattened vegetation. Brown is the dominant color as dirt and soil was ripped from the ground.”
“We’ve had so many people pouring in making donations, and every time our tables are bare we some to get more donations from so many wonderful people and organizations,” reported Key West Methodist Pastor Terry Hill.
The tables were getting close to empty again when the truck arrived from Plymouth Tuesday morning. Pastor Hill said this was “by far the biggest donation we’ve had so far.”
“Thank you so much to all of the people at New Hope,” Pastor Hill said in a video message. “Your generosity and kindness to us will never ne forgotten. I know the love of Christ is something that gets shared, and Jesus told us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.
“I don’t know if you ever thought of Key West as your neighbor, but we definitely think of you as our neighbor.”
It appears the New Hope pastor does very much share that sentiment.
“If we say we love God, the proof lies in how we love our neighbors,” said Pastor Eaton. “It’s rewarding to be part of a church and community that comes together to serve and give to hurting people in our country. With all of the political divisiveness going on, I would rather focus on causes like this!”
New Hope is a very active church in the areas of community outreach, worldwide missions, events and small group gatherings, including more than 30 weekly Bible study “life group” meetings — some at the church, but most in homes of church members.
For more information on New Hope and “Hope for Florida,” go to atnewhope.com.