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Churches unite to help tornado victims

| June 7, 2019

Grace United Methodist Church joined forces with others in the community to bring supplies to tornado victims in the Dayton area. Contributed | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Pastor Christy Suffecool from Grace United Methodist Church was hoping to gather a few supplies and take a volunteer or two with her to help those impacted by tornadoes in Dayton. Before she knew it she had several churches on board and a team of 20 volunteers.

Suffecool is friends with Pastor Chris Reese who has a church in Dayton and had set up an outreach center after the tornadoes hit. On May 31 she posted a list of needs and before she knew it pastors from other United Methodist Churches in the community were asking if they could help. In five short days the various congregations had collected monetary donations and items that were on the list of needs.

“God pulled it all together,” said Pastor Matt Anderson from West Lafayette United Methodist Church. Pastor Dan Eggan from Isleta United Methodist Church and Fresno United Methodist Church and Pastor Jeff Calkins from Conesville United Methodist Church, New Moscow United Methodist Church and Tyndall United Methodist Church also helped.

So much was collected that they need six vehicles including a donated truck from Darr Farms. They had 600 quarts of fresh strawberries from George Darr, 500 to 600 rolls of toilet paper, four suitcases of socks and underwear and much more.

The group left for Dayton on June 5 and spent the day helping out wherever they could in the Northridge neighborhood.

Eggan said seeing the storm damage firsthand impacted the youth who went on the one-day mission trip.

“One teen said it’s not like when you see it on TV,” Eggan said. “It’s different to walk down the street and see it in person. The roads were cleared and a lot of the tree debris was removed, but there was still the damage with the homes.”

Some homes had little to no damage and others had major structural damage.

“Some people had weeks or even months of work ahead of them, “Anderson said.

He had the opportunity to pray for a Hispanic family that had recently relocated to the area.

“They said their daughter wasn’t sleeping very well since the tornadoes hit and I felt God placed it on my heart to pray for her,” Anderson said. “I prayed for peace and understanding and after that they really opened up and started talking. They had moved here (to Ohio) from California and had no home insurance yet. They were basically going to have to start from scratch.”

Nine teenagers and four elementary school students went on the trip to Dayton and Eggan said they all worked hard.

“We kept telling them that everything they did was something someone else doesn’t have to,” he said.

Anderson added that there was no complaining from any of them.

“They worked hard and it was hot that day too,” he said. “Everyone did what they asked. There were no problems and no drama. I’m proud of all of them.”

One of the projects Eggan worked with the kids on was cleaning up the neighborhood’s ball fields. Suffecool said because of the work they did there a fundraising concert that organizers thought they were going to have to cancel was still able to be held on June 8.

She was very proud of everyone in the community who played a role in this mission trip to Dayton.

“I know Coshocton has its challenges, but we respond well and love well as a community,” Suffecool said. “We step up and love people when they need us.”

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Category: Faith

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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