"It breaks your heart to see people going through that. When you begin to look out you begin to realize how little your problems are," said Youth Pastor Ronald Benson of Pocono Community Church.
Benson is one of about 60 volunteers from Pocono Community Church that went to Long Island to help Tuesday. They worked with a charity called "Convoy of Hope." Spanish Pastor Emilio Quinteros smiled,"We are always helping out overseas. Now is the time to help our own country."
Long Beach resident Carol Morelli was glad to see the group arrive. She said,"I am so grateful to everybody from the community church. They just helped me through such a disaster."
Morelli said she was home with her son when Sandy struck. She watched water wash away cars and fill up her home. She recalled, "We just kept looking and looking 'God please God, please God.'" The water stopped rising just as it reached the second floor of her home. Morelli said it was the first of many answered prayers.
When the water subsided, she hoped to find a family heirloom in the muck. She succeeded. She found part of the family Nativity set. She inherited it from her father when he died many years ago. Morelli cried, "I don't have all the pieces but I will never, ever get rid of this."
For her, the Nativity was a sign of hope, a sign she found with the help of the volunteers. She smiled, "They are sent from God also to me. Fabulous. They have done so much, have asked for nothing, which I cannot believe." said Morelli.
For the volunteers, hugs were payment enough.
Pocono Community Church volunteers are planning another Sandy relief outreach trip. They plan to deliver meals to Sandy victims in New Jersey on Thanksgiving.