When the Winchester United Methodist Church decided it wanted to fill 100 five-gallon buckets with hurricane relief items, pastor Greg Roberts said it was because the church members saw a need. Little did he know how much others would help fill that need.
“You see a need, you’re mission minded, people put money in the plate every week and expect it to be used for something worthwhile, and this is what was on everyone’s mind after the Houston floods,” said Roberts, adding that his church members come the Hillsboro, Eastern Brown, Western Brown and North Adams school districts.
So, Roberts decided to call Lowe’s in Hillsboro to see if it had 100 five-gallon buckets. Lowe’s supplied the buckets, plus all the supplies to fill them, at half the store’s retail cost.
“It hits home. My daughter lives in Orlando (Fla.), but we decided to do this before Hurricane Irma hit there,” Hillsboro Lowe’s store manager Roger Bowlby said. “We always try to help – sometimes you have to deny some of the requests because there are so many – but we try to pick the ones that are going to have the most impact. Can you imagine your house filled with water?”
What Lowe’s did was unexpected, Roberts said, but there were still a couple surprises to come.
The pastor said he put a letter in a newspaper asking anybody who cared to help to send donations to the church. The church received over $350 in response to the letter. Then the Union Hill Church of Christ near Peebles sent the Winchester church $700.
“What I like about that is that denominational lines disappeared,” Roberts said.
After Sunday services Roberts said he asked church members to help form an assembly line to fill the buckets. He said more than half the 64 people in attendance stayed to help. They filled the buckets in about 45 minutes then young people with the church carried them to a garage where they will be picked up by UMCOR (United Methodist Community on Relief).
Originally, Roberts said, the buckets were destined for the Houston, Texas area, but after Hurricane Irma hit Florida and other states, they will go wherever they’re needed most.
The buckets were filled with 50 ounces of laundry detergent, dish detergent, 100-foot clothes lines, 50 clothes pins, seven sponges, air freshener, insect repellent, work gloves, dust masks and reusable wipes.
Roberts said Lowe’s was terrific to work with.
“You hear a lot of bad-mouthing about big box stores and them putting other businesses out of business,” Roberts said. “But here’s a instance where they’re stepping up to the plate and helping out when it’s really needed.”
There is also a post on Facebook from a man named Brian Humphreys who ordered some hurricane supplies from Kmart in Hillsboro. When he received the supplies there was a card inside the box with $25 in it. The card says: “Just thought it might cheer you to know that someone’s been thinking of you Floridians … and wishing you Floridians brighter tomorrows. From 4 employees from Kmart in Hillsboro, Ohio. P.S. We wish it was more!!!”
Humphreys’ Facebook posted said: “There really are some awesome people in the world. I’ll be paying it forward and donating to bestfriends.org and keep the card to always remember that there are really good people out there.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.