Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast on October 29, 2012 and was responsible for at least 125 deaths. Tad Long, Director of Outdoor Education at Good Shepherd Episcopal School, felt passionate about helping the victims of this terrible storm and organized a group to aid with relief efforts.
With the full support of the Good Shepherd community, Long and the other volunteers assembled a trailer of supplies, $7,000 in donations and a kitchen on wheels. Within a week, Long set out to Staten Island with fellow Good Shepherd community members Andy Blount, Jeff Girard, Nancy Williams and Lysa Farah.
The group set up on the main strip in Staten Island, and provided meals for victims and volunteers.
“Lending people an ear was the most rewarding part of the experience,” Blount recalls.
After hearing the stories of countless victims and volunteers, lasting connections were made with people they encountered in Staten Island.
Fast forward to May 15, 2013 in Cleburne, Texas, where a tornado ripped through the city, causing widespread destruction. The group from Good Shepherd immediately packed up and headed out to provide disaster relief, this time with several recently graduated 8th graders.
“Our main goal is to get the students involved so they can really feel what it is like to give back to the community,” Blount says.
Contacts the group made in Staten Island heard about the destruction in Cleburne and sent donations, wanting to give back for the help they had received.
Plans to expand this program are already underway.
“We are just getting our feet wet,” Blount says. “We are not sure where this will take us, but we have big hopes and plans for the future.”
Good Shepherd has supported the efforts since day one.
“Without a doubt there is no way our efforts would be possible without the Good Shepherd administration’s support and the Good Shepherd community as a whole,” Blount says.
Community can be a wonderful support during a time of need, and Good Shepherd is setting the example for helping communities across America.
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