Forty buckets full of help and hope. That’s how First Parish of Westwood, UCC showed its support to recovery efforts after the devastation caused by recent hurricanes.
In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, monetary donations are usually the most effective response. However, it did not go unnoticed that many people were looking for more tangible, hands-on ways to help. So as contributions from parishioners came in, an invitation was put out by the church to fill Emergency Clean Up Buckets.
Sponsored by Church World Service, five-gallon buckets, filled with 14 items from sponges to cleaning products to insect repellant, are being dispatched to areas affected by the hurricanes and other subsequent natural disasters.
The invitation was also extended to the wider community. Empty buckets and lists of items were available at the church’s booth during Westwood Day. Other congregations in town, such as St. John’s Episcopal, filled buckets. Some members of the First Parish community even got their workplaces involved filling buckets. According to Rev. Christopher Dodge, pastor of First Parish, “the response was made even more heartening as we learned some people had included encouraging notes in their buckets for the recipient family to read.”
Buckets were blessed on their way during the October 15 Sunday morning worship service. They joined with hundreds of others assembled throughout Massachusetts on a journey to affected areas.
Church World Service was born in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II. Seventeen denominations came together to form an agency “to do in partnership what none of us could hope to do as well alone.” The mission: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, comfort the aged, shelter the homeless. More than 70 years later, the mission remains, though where and how they accomplish it has changed dramatically.
First Parish, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, expressed gratitude for all of the community support in giving some hope and encouragement to 40 families as they rebuild their lives.